Children's Hospital Identifies One Additional Employee with Pertussis

No patients have been identified with Pertussis.

No patients have been identified with Pertussis.

Seattle, Wash.: September 5, 2004. After completing a large number of diagnostic tests over the last 48 hours Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center has identified only one additional staff member with Pertussis. The staff member is a physician who worked in the Emergency Department on September 1 and 2 between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Children’s Hospital is contacting patients, families and staff members who may have had face-to-face contact with this physician on the nights of September 1 and 2. Families who have questions should contact Children’s Resource Line at (206) 987-2500 and press option 1 or their child’s doctor. Children’s continues to work with Public Health Seattle & King County to control the spread of this illness.

On Friday, September 3, Children’s announced that three employees were diagnosed with Pertussis and may have exposed patients and visitors to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) since August 9, 2004. The hospital has not identified any patients who have developed Pertussis.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a contagious bacterial infection that usually causes a prolonged coughing illness with little or no fever. An infected person has coughing episodes that may end in vomiting or cause a “whoop” sound when the person breathes in. The incubation period is usually seven to 10 days but may be as long as 21 days.

Pertussis can infect people of any age. Even persons who have been immunized or had the disease may be susceptible because protection from the vaccine or having had the disease can last less than 10 years.

Symptoms of Pertussis may include:

  • The incubation period is usually seven to ten days but may be as long as 21 days.
  • Most often Pertussis starts as a cold followed by a cough that worsens and can persist for up to two months.
  • Vomiting may occur after severe coughing spells.
  • The person may look and feel healthy between coughing episodes.
  • Those who develop the disease despite being immunized usually have milder symptoms. The disease is most severe in infants less than six months of age.

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