Whooping Cough Spikes Fears in Dubuque

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Now that kids are back in school, they're exposed to many more germs. With that comes a higher chance of catching the common cold or flu.

Already this year, there have been more than 1,000 cases of whooping cough reported in Iowa. That's ten times the number of cases in the state last year.

For parents with children in school or daycare, any symptom, even small can make you wonder if that cold could turn into whooping cough. But health care officials say that's not how whooping cough works.

At the Finley/DCY Childcare Center in Dubuque illness can spread just as fast as little ones run around.

Childcare Coordinator Teresa Fischer said, "we've also had a virus and a fever and some upper respiratory illness and some cases of strep throat. "

But Finley/DCY Childcare Center has not had any reported cases of whooping cough. Still there's a fear that a nagging cough could be something more.

The Visiting Nurses Association's Nan Colin said, "usually Pertussis starts out as upper respiratory symptoms like runny nose, congestion. After a couple days they can develop a persistent or harsh cough."

But Colin says a viral upper respiratory disease doesn't turn into whooping cough.

She says a person simply gets Pertussis when they have contact with an infected person.

While whooping cough is more serious for infants, it's usually not the disease itself that's potentially fatal.

Colin said, "they historically are more susceptible to whooping cough developing into Pneumonia, which could be potentially life threatening. "

So, maybe you've heard it before, but take it from Teresa. Keep that sick kid home.

Fischer said, "you need to be fever free and Tylenol free and symptom free for 24 hours before you can return. "

Colin also encourages all adults to get the T-DaP Vaccine. She says only 6 percent of adults in Dubuque County are properly vaccinated.
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