Whooping cough hits home

By Shelby Horton

The Reno County Health Department currently has good supplies of the pertussis vaccine
The Reno County Health Department currently has good supplies of the pertussis vaccine

About 46 Hutchinson Community College instructors and other staff members received dTap shots on Aug. 27 at the college’s child care center.

They were taking part in a free inoculation clinic being put on by the Reno County Health Department, in response to an outbreak of whooping cough in the Hutchinson area.

The dTap shots contain components to supply immunizations for diphtheria, tetanus and for pertussis, which is the scientific name for whooping cough.

Whooping cough is contagious respiratory disease caused by bordetella pertussis bacteria.

At first it seems to be an average common cold. However, it slowly becomes more severe and victims develop violent coughing, followed by a “whooping” sound as the victim struggles to inhale.

The diseases can become serious and life- threatening if left untreated.

Shelby Horton/Collegian - Kim Johnson, an accounting instructor at HCC, receives a pertussis (whooping cough) shot on Aug. 27 at the HCC Child Care Center.
Shelby Horton/Collegian - Kim Johnson, an accounting instructor at HCC, receives a pertussis (whooping cough) shot on Aug. 27 at the HCC Child Care Center.

The pertussis outbreak, which became official May 15, has had 76 confirmed cases as of late August. The number of cases that have been under investigation are now around 130, according to the health department.

Among those who received the shot was Dr. Carter File, president of HCC.

Whooping cough is a serious disease, File said, and he appreciated the Reno County Health department coming out to help people receive shots.

Julie Wisbey, the coordinator of the child care center, thought it was wise have the clinic reach out to them.

Wisbey believes it is important for people to have immunizations.

“Anything that we can do to prevent it from getting worse,” Wisbey said.

During the time Wisbey has been working at the Child Care Center, 20 years, there had never been a clinic there until now.

The Reno County Health Department has not done a clinic location like this before.

The health agency is willing to hold more clinics at day care centers, with 275 vaccines left over after the Aug. 27 event.

Free vaccines are available at the health department, at 209 W. Second Avenue, by appointment.

Hits: 11

Share this story: