MASON CITY, Iowa - Seven cases of Pertussis, also known a whooping cough, have been confirmed in Cerro Gordo County.
The County Department of Public Health says it is investigating instances of the disease in the Mason City Community School District and among staff at the McDonald's at 2010 S. Federal Ave..
“Our biggest concern right now is to stop the spread of whooping cough within our community”, said Jeni Stiles, Infectious Disease Nurse at the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “Whooping cough is spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing or having close contact with an infected person for an extended period of time.”
Early symptoms of whooping cough include a runny nose, low-grade fever, mild cough, and a pause in breathing in babies. After the disease progresses for a week or two, other symptoms develop like coughing fits followed by a high-pitched "whoop" sound, vomiting during or after coughing fits, and exhaustion after coughing fits.
Initial symptoms usually develop five to ten days after being exposed to the disease.
"If you or a family member is experiencing symptoms of whooping cough, it is very important that you see your family doctor, receive testing and treatment, and isolate yourself or your family member from school, work, and other activities through the duration of antibiotic treatment”, explains Stiles. “We are asking employers to monitor their staff for symptoms of whooping cough and exclude them from work until testing and treatment can be completed. Isolation is critical to prevent the spread of the illness in our community.”
For more information about Pertussis, call the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health at (641) 421-9359.