So I was at this video game related event yesterday (a lot of fun!). One of the guys who was there coughed. He apologized, saying he had whooping cough. I thought he was joking/being sarcastic, so I didn’t think anything of it. But he talked about it a bit more later, and I realized he was serious.
He said he had it about three weeks previous, but still had a cough. I did not notice him coughing any more than a normal, healthy person. Certainly less so than I do (I cough all the time, it seems; my doctor thinks it’s related to acid reflux). And he did cover his mouth with his first the one time I saw it. Though I now wonder about those droplets I wiped off my DS without a second thought…
Anyway, I tried looking my question up on Google, but the resources said very little about it - only that it’s MOST contagious before symptoms pop up, not anything about afterward. Besides which, most of the info out there is, understandably, child-oriented, with very little really said about adults (e.g. most lists of complications are given without comment; I think they’re most common in kids, but it’s never ever said outright).
So what are my chances of coming down with this stuff in the next two weeks?
Depending upon my memory only (no cites), I think that most of the ‘tetanus update vaccinations’ contain the pertussis component. I have given many a ‘update’ injection to folks that were more than 5 years out on their tetanus ‘booster’ that had a possible exposure to tetanus by ‘penetrating injury’ of metal piece through skin (or 10+ years without an injury). I told them that they were also getting ‘updated’ on the other diseases included in the vaccination - many other ‘workers’ did not tell the receiver of the added protection but just told them that they were ‘good to go’ for tetanus.
Anyways, much of the vaccine used for tetanus-updating contains the ‘P’ part. DTP or DT (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) are what I am familiar with, but its been awhile since I have looked at any labels of what is used in most ‘clinical/non-emergency’ offices nowadays. If a person had a tetanus ‘update’ for whatever reason, if the vaccine used has the ‘p’ component listed, its near-certain that pertussis was included in the ‘update’, so to speak (not a guarantee, though). And fairly safe to say there is no real danger (for general population and average ‘Joes’ but always an exception to any rule) to getting the vaccine again if its fairly certain that said person has not had such vaccine repeatedly and excessively over the previous few years. A vaccine now for an exposure awhile back, though, is useless except for future exposures, fwiw. It takes time to achieve antibody response/effectiveness and is obviously not retroactive to exposure event.
I should mention that some Docs/Offices did not purchase the slightly-more expensive DTP vaccine and instead got the DT or plain ‘T’ only (if available). These offices were more the exception than the rule in my experience(s) with vaccine administration in central Texas and southern Idaho (and Oklahoma, too). I was surprised that the ‘P’ was not mandatory for use (per Public Safety thinking) unless there was a contraindication to not give the ‘P’ component to that person at that time.
Actually Tdap, the form that contains the pertussis component approved for those 11 and above, was approved only in 2005. It was initially advised for the middle school/adolescent dose and was advised for those 19 and over at the end of 2006 - fairly recently. The biggest beneficiaries of this change actually will be the youngest children - adults with pertussis tend to get milder disease, and often are never diagnosed - yet they are contagious for that whole roughly three week period from before being sick to two weeks past cough onset. Younger children that they may expose, especially those who have not yet had a chance to be fully immunized against pertussis, OTOH, get much more ill with the disease. As an illustration here is one case report:
And here’s more info on the various ‘blends’ of vaccine related to pertussis (pdf here) It says that DTP isn’t used in US any longer with better types now available per age-groups, etc. Just so everyone knows what they need (and should get!)
Leaper: if you have/get symptoms that are suspicious, do get in touch with County Health or whatever ‘entity’ covers public health/reportable diseases. Or your own ‘personal physician’, of course. If pertussis is reportable (by ordinance or such) in your locale, I’m guessing that ‘patient zero’ (one who admitted pertussis to you) would/should have been followed-up by an ‘official’ to make certain all was clear for everyone. Imho, that guy should not have been so casual about that cough.