Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two Local Health Concerns: Whooping Cough and Norovirus

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Local health officials are particularly concerned about two separate outbreaks.

The Southwest District Health Department reports that, to date, there have been 21 confirmed cases of pertusisis—commonly known as whooping cough—in Canyon County, three times the number reported during the same period last year. SDHD officials said many of the victims reported that they were behind on their immunizations.

Whooping cough is considered to be highly contagious and easily spread among those who have not been immunized. Symptoms begin with sneezing or a cough, but after one to two weeks, the cough can become more severe to the degree that over-the-counter cough medicines are ineffective.

SDHD officials said most of the recent cases had been school-age children.

Meanwhile, officials at the Boise VA Hospital have determined that a quarantine is necessary after some residents at the VA nursiing home were confirmed to have symptoms of the norovirus—nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. To date, the highly contagious virus has been contained to nine residents and six nurses.

Caregivers in a quarantined wing of the VA are now required to wear a gown, gloves, a mask and covers for their shoes.

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