Officials have confirmed a case of Whooping Cough in Hyde County. Health officials also say there could be at least 10 more cases, possibly as many as 20.
The confirmed case is that of an infant girl. The six-week-old is currently hospitalized in Pitt County Memorial Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit.
The baby is from the Grassy Ridge Area of Hyde County. That’s in the western part of the county, above the town of Ponzer, near the Beaufort County line. Whooping cough is a highly infectious disease that can make people, especially children, very ill with a violent choking cough.
Because it is so contagious, health officials want to make sure folks in Hyde and all surrounding counties are aware of the situation.
Infants, like the one confirmed case, are susceptible because they can’t get the vaccine that young. The first dose is normally given at two months. Adults are also at risk. Whooping cough vaccine, or pertussis vaccine, as it is called, is not a lifetime vaccine. It’s effectiveness gradually decreases. That means adults who have been vaccinated can still get it. There are normally 5,000 to 7,000 cases in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Hyde County Health Department officials tell us they are going house to house, reviewing immunization records and using preventative antibiotics to contain the disease.
There is a Mennonite community in the Grassy Ridge area. WITN-7 News has confirmed the infant is from a Mennonite family. Our source tells us the Mennonite community is working with the health department and taking antibiotics in an effort to fight an outbreak. He also says the Mennonite religion does not have a stance either way on vaccinations. It is left up to each individual family.
As you can imagine, the main symptom for Whooping Cough is a cough. The illness can start out with a minor cough, a runny nose and a tired feeling but dramatically gets worse. Some adults cough so hard they’ve broken ribs.
For more information on the disease, its symptoms and treatment, click here.