Henderson County health officials have confirmed another case of whooping cough (pertussis), bringing the total to eight in the area. More than 1,000 people have come in contact with the students already diagnosed with the illness, and preventative measures can be taken.
In response to news of this outbreak of whooping cough in Henderson County, Mission Health has quickly enabled a protocol within its Virtual Clinic to provide quick preventive treatment for people who have had exposure to whooping cough. Mission Health has contacted Henderson and Buncombe county health departments to let them know about the service, and they are communicating the option with those affected.
Anyone with exposure to whooping cough who may need preventive treatment can access Mission Virtual Clinic online at www.mission-health.org/virtualclinic. After completing a quick questionnaire, a provider will respond within one hour to inform you whether a prescription is warranted, which can then be filled out online. This can help prevent further spread so that patients do not need to go to the doctor’s office to obtain a prescription. The Virtual Clinic is not intended to treat patients with symptoms of whooping cough, and we recommend these patients be seen in person at a clinic for immediate evaluation and treatment.
“Preventing the spread of pertussis is very important for the health of our communities. It is important to seek preventive treatment if you have been exposed to whooping cough within the last 21 days and are at a high risk of severe illness or have close contact with a person at high risk of severe illness, such as an infant or pregnant woman. By offering the service online, we can prevent further spread of contagious disease in the community,” said Steve North, MD, Medical Director of Mission Virtual Care.
Pertussis is a preventable disease, and Mission Health encourages everyone to make sure their immunizations are up to date. Children should receive 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine before their sixth birthday, and teens and adults should discuss pertussis immunization with their primary care physician.