Several staff members at North Benson Urgent Care were recently exposed to a patient with pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and a few of them later developed pertussis-like symptoms. While pertussis has not actually been confirmed in any of our clinical staff, VMC has decided to err on the side of caution and notify all patients who came in contact with the affected staff members between August 4 and August 23. As you know, patient safety is our #1 priority and pertussis can potentially be life threatening among certain patient populations, like infants.
Pertussis is a bacterial illness that may begin with symptoms similar to the common cold (runny nose or scratchy throat) or simply a dry cough. Most recover without any complications, but for infants, pertussis can be life-threatening. Antibiotics can prevent this infection for anyone that has been exposed.
Those considered high-risk for developing complications include:
- Younger than one year of age
- Pregnant, or
- Those in close contact with pregnant women, infants, or healthcare workers
High-risk individuals who were treated at North Benson Urgent Care between August 4-August 23rd and DO NOT have symptoms are being asked to contact North Benson Urgent Care Clinic at 425.656.4270 and press “0” to speak with a receptionist. They will be prescribed an antibiotic to decrease the likelihood of contracting pertussis.
For those who developed cough or cold-type symptoms that began 6-21 days after their Urgent Care visit are being directed to be tested for pertussis. Patients can be seen by their primary care provider or return to one of our four Urgent Care Clinics to be evaluated. Safety measures to follow until test results are received include:
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Notify healthcare provider that you or your child has a cough and may have been exposed to pertussis.
- If diagnosed with pertussis, continue to avoid close contact with others and avoid social settings until 5 days of antibiotic treatment are completed.
This recent case of pertussis serves as an important reminder to keep your pertussis vaccination up-to-date – please review your family’s vaccination records to make sure theirs are as well. If you have any questions about vaccines or pertussis please call your primary care provider or contact Public Health at 206.296.4774.
Click here for Public Health’s Pertussis Fact Sheet.
Todd S. Bouchard, MD
Urgent Care Medical Director