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Multiple counties in Alabama are reporting a jump in urgent care visits related to pertussis—enough that the Alabama Department of Health is warning parents of the signs (the most recognized being the tell-tale “whooping” cough). The numbers are expected to rise, too, given that Alabama’s public schools are already back in session and children are more likely to be sharing germs in the classroom. Ensure you have adequate testing supplies, especially if you have operations in Alabama or neighboring states; that you probe for contact with others who may have pertussis; and that you ask patients if their immunizations are up to date. If they’re not, offer to remedy any shortfalls or refer them immediately to someone who can. And, in the spirit of good antibiotic stewardship, prescribe antibiotics only for patients with a confirmed case of pertussis (or any bacterial infection).

Pertussis Visits Are on the Rise—Be Ready to Test, Treat, and Vaccinate