Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

4-29-05

Contacts:

Marc Shulman, Thielen Student Health Center, (515) 294-7989 or (515) 451-4950 cell

James Nelson, Thielen Student Health Center, (515) 294-7971

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720 or (515) 306-2374 cell

Two cases of whooping cough confirmed at ISU

AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed that two Iowa State University students have pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.

The students are receiving antibiotic therapy. The Story County Health Department is contacting those who have had close contact with the infected students, so that they may seek preventative treatment.

The last confirmed case of whooping cough at Iowa State was in November 2004.

Dr. Marc Shulman, chief of staff at ISU's Thielen Student Health Center, says whooping cough can occur anytime of year.

"We're always looking for it," Shulman said. "It's usually not a serious disease in adults, but can be more severe for small children."

A university setting can be susceptible to whooping cough, Shulman added, because people are in close contact, and the immunity they received from childhood vaccinations tends to diminish over time. He said the Centers for Disease Control are investigating whether adult vaccination for whooping cough is needed.

Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory tract infection, spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Symptoms may initially resemble the common cold. Generally, there is no fever. As it advances, the more characteristic symptoms are a long series of coughs followed by a high-pitched intake of breath, or a whooping noise.

Anyone experiencing a cough for 14 days, or a cough of shorter duration that includes spasms, the inability to control coughing, or a cough with vomiting should seek immediate medical attention. Physicians at Thielen Student Health Center follow pertussis control guidelines provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

To access a whooping cough fact sheet from the Iowa Department of Public Health: http://www.idph.state.ia.us/adper/cade_content/epifacts/pertussis.pdf.

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Quick look

Two Iowa State students have pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The students are receiving antibiotic therapy. The Story County Health Department is contacting those who have had close contact with the infected students, so that they may seek preventative treatment.