April 29, 1997 in Idaho

Two New Pertussis Cases Reported In Cda Officials Unready To Say Outbreak Over

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Only two new cases of pertussis were diagnosed Monday in Coeur d’Alene, bringing North Idaho’s total for the outbreak to 182.

The numbers of people coming for testing have slowed considerably in the past week. Marie Rau of the Panhandle Health District said nurses brought in to help her staff have gone home.

But Rau is far from ready to declare the outbreak over.

“You need to get at least two incubation periods down the road before you start breathing a little easier,” she said. The incubation period - the time between a person’s exposure to pertussis and the onset of symptoms - is six to 20 days.

The Panhandle staff remains busy, but not overwhelmed, and is adding back pregnancy testing, HIV testing and other services that were cut back.

The number of people seeking routine immunizations probably has tripled, Rau said.

“Often, people say, ‘I knew I was behind (on immunizations) and this reminded me to get it done.”’ In Spokane County, health officials said the number of new cases leveled off over the weekend, bringing the total to 76.

Centennial Middle School in the East Valley School District has been the hardest-hit school.

There have been six confirmed cases, all in the eighth grade, prompting the school nurse to hand out antibiotics to scores of students at lunch time.

“It does kind of look like a M.A.S.H. unit at noon when they all show up for their antibiotics,” said Kitty Johnson-Woods, one of two school nurses for the East Valley district.

, DataTimes


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