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Missoula area whooping cough cases jump to 78

Posted at 2:29 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 18:01:18-04

MISSOULA – The Missoula City County Health department tells MTN there are now 78 cases of pertussis in Missoula county with cases reported in 18 schools from pre-schools to High Schools.

Cindy Farr, infectious disease director with the Missoula City-County health department, tells MTN the majority of the whooping cough cases involve high school students.

Farr could not be specific about which schools have been impacted the most by this outbreak.

She also tells us they’re seeing cases in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Children who are vaccinated don’t experience the typical whooping cough symptoms. Farr says vaccinated people will start out with running nose, sneezing, mild cough at night; she said it’s not your classic symptoms of pertussis.

Health Department officials have identified more than 1,000 close contacts but say that number is creeping up to about 2,000 close contacts.

The Health Department along with area school nurses continue to screen students and are working with families and employers who may have been in close contact with an infected person.

Farr says they are also concerned about the high risk community including infants, the elderly, pregnant women or those who are immune compromised.

Reporting by Melissa Rafferty for MTN News