Cole County Still on the Watch For Whooping Cough

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Health Department said Thursday that it has not seen any new cases of whooping cough in the area, but it is still giving away Tdap vaccines at its health center to be sure. Tdap vaccines are vaccines to be received after age 11 that help bolster immunity to whooping cough.

An outbreak of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, was detected at Southwest Early Childhood Learning Center in Jefferson City, prompting the health department to stock up on the vaccines.

Rachael Hahn, Epidemiology Specialist and Public Health Emergency Planner for the Cole County Health Department, said that the situation peaked on August 31st. "The definition of an outbreak is very specific, so as of Friday, August 31st, with the confirmed case reports, it was determined we did have an outbreak situation," she said.

Since then things have normalized, but Hahn said that the health department isn't helping the school district directly. "The Cole County Health Department hasn't directly delivered any vaccines to the school system. We're just recommending that anyone who is a close contact (to a whooping cough case) make sure they're up to date and receive the Tdap if they haven't already", Hahn said.

As of now, there aren't any new confirmed cases of whooping cough, but Hahn said the department isn't ready to sound the all-clear just yet. "As always, we hope that it doesn't get any worse and we don't see any more new cases. Right now, we're doing surveillance and taking control measures including those students who have symptoms from the early childhood center, just to make sure they don't expose any more children to pertussis," she said.

The Cole County Health Department is located at 1616 Industrial Drive in Jefferson City.