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Gregoire announces emergency action to slow the spread of whooping cough

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Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire has made emergency funds available to the state Department of Health to help curb the epidemic of whooping cough (pertussis) underway in Washington.

As of April 28th, 1,132 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the state. That’s compared to 117 over the same time last year. The epidemic is on pace for as many as 3,000 cases this year, health officials said.

Added to the $210,000 in existing funds from the Department of Health, Gregoire is making $90,000 available from the governor’s emergency fund to strengthen public awareness efforts about the need for vaccination

Gregoire also announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved using federal funds designated for other immunizations to buy more than 27,000 doses of pertussis vaccine for adults who are uninsured or underinsured.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Photomicrograph of the bacteria that causes whooping cough

Pertussis, the whooping cough bacteria -- CDC photo

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing.

It is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The name, pertussis, comes from Latin, from per-‘away, extremely’ + Latin tussis ‘a cough.’

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventing, in the 20th century,  pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of child death in the United States.

Initially, an infection may seem like just a cold. However, during this phase of the infection, which can last several weeks, a person can spread the disease to others.

Patients typically then go on to develop a severe, persistent–often wracking–cough that can last for several more weeks.

The coughing fits can be prolonged and are often followed by a long inhalation that causes the “whooping” sound that gives the disease its name.

The bouts of coughing can leave victims breathless and unable to eat, drink or sleep. Complications of the infection include pneumonia, seizures and death.

Whooping cough can affect people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected.

There is a vaccine that can prevent infection, but it is not effective in newborns or infants and it wears off with time.

Gregoire is urging health care professionals to get vaccinated and vaccinate their patients, and she announced federal approval for health officials to re-direct some funds to buy several thousand doses of pertussis vaccine for adults.

Gregoire said she would keep access to the emergency fund open in the event the state needs to purchase additional vaccinations.

Free vaccine available

  • All recommended vaccines are offered at no cost to all kids under 19 through health care provider offices participating in the state’s Childhood Vaccine Program.
  • Health care providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine, called an administration fee.
  • People who cannot afford the administration fee can ask their regular health care provider if they’ll waive that cost.
  • Most health insurance carriers will cover the whooping cough vaccine; adults should double-check with their health plan.

To learn more:

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Screen Shot 2012-04-03 at 12.28.53 PM-2

Whooping cough reaches epidemic levels in much of Washington

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Whooping cough has reached epidemic levels in Washington state, Washington State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky announced Tuesday.

Since the beginning of the year, 640 cases of whooping cough have been reported and confirmed in 23 of the state’s 39 counties. At this time last year, only 94 cases had been reported, Sec. Selecky said.

Red represents cases so far this year; blue cases from last year;

The actual number of cases may be far higher, Selecky said, because only about 10 percent to 12 percent of cases are reported. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

Infants are most vulnerable to the disease, and there have been at four infant deaths in the state due to whooping cough over the past years.

“We’re very concerned about the continued rapid increase in reported cases,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “This disease can be very serious for young babies, who often get whooping cough from adults and other family members. We want all teens and adults who haven’t had Tdap [a pertussis vaccine] to be vaccinated to help protect babies that are too young for the vaccine.”

In the epidemic continues at its current rate, the state is on track to see the most cases it has seen since 1942, Sec. Selecky said.

Pertussis

Photomicrograph of the bacteria that causes whooping cough

Pertussis, the whooping cough bacteria -- CDC photo

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing.

It is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The name, pertussis, comes from Latin, from per-‘away, extremely’ + Latin tussis ‘a cough.’

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventing, in the 20th century,  pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of child death in the United States.

Initially, an infection may seem like just a cold. However, during this phase of the infection, which can last several weeks, a person can spread the disease to others.

Patients typically then go on to develop a severe, persistent–often wracking–cough that can last for several more weeks.

The coughing fits can be prolonged and are often followed by a long inhalation that causes the “whooping” sound that gives the disease its name.

The bouts of coughing can leave victims breathless and unable to eat, drink or sleep. Complications of the infection include pneumonia, seizures and death.

Whooping cough can affect people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected.

There is a vaccine that can prevent infection, but it is not effective in newborns or infants and it wears off with time.

Related article: Vaccine Hesitancy

Seattle’s Child’s lead article this month is a piece by Laura Hirshfield on “Vaccine Hesitancy”. She writes:

“While there is a small, but vocal, minority of parents who outright refuse all vaccines, much more common are parents who choose to skip or delay their children’s vaccines. In a recent Seattle Children’s Research Institute survey, 77 percent of Washington pediatricians reported regularly seeing parents who ask to vary the recommended vaccine schedule.

“Health officials call these parents “vaccine hesitant” and link the statewide rise in outbreaks of whooping cough, a highly contagious, airborne disease, to the rising number of under-vaccinated kids.”

Read the full article on the Seattle’s Child website.

Health officials therefore recommend that anyone who has contact with newborns and infants be vaccinated or, if they have been vaccinated, to make sure their vaccination is up-to-date.

Sec. Selecky urged parents to make sure their children are fully vaccinated and up-to-date and that teens and adults to check to see whether they need a booster.

Because newborns cannot be vaccinated, pregnant women should make sure they are vaccinated because they can transfer some of their immunity to their newborn that will confer some protection during the first months of life.

In addition, being vaccinated will reduce the risk that they will contract the infection and spread it to their child.

“Many adults don’t realize they need to be vaccinated, or they assume they have been,” said State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes. “We’re asking everyone to verify with their health care provider that they’re up-to-date on vaccines. We’re also asking everyone to use good health manners — like cover your cough and stay home when you’re sick — that will also help prevent spreading whooping cough.”

For full information about pertussis vaccines and about who should get vaccinated go to the Department of Health’s pertussis information page: http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize/diseases/pertussis/

Free vaccine available

  • All recommended vaccines are offered at no cost to all kids under 19 through health care provider offices participating in the state’s Childhood Vaccine Program.
  • Health care providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine, called an administration fee.
  • People who cannot afford the administration fee can ask their regular health care provider if they’ll waive that cost.
  • Most health insurance carriers will cover the whooping cough vaccine; adults should double-check with their health plan.

To learn more:

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State seal of Washington state

Washington state discipline health-care providers

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State seal of Washington statePeriodically Washington State Department of Health issues an update on disciplinary actions taken against health care providers, including suspensions and revocations of  licenses, certifications, or registrations of providers in the state.

The department has also suspends the credentials of people who have been prohibited from practicing in other states.

Information about health care providers is also on the agency’s website.

To find this information click on “Provider Credential Search” on the left hand side of the Department of Health home page (www.doh.wa.gov).

The site includes information about a health care provider’s license status, the expiration and renewal date of their credential, disciplinary actions and copies of legal documents issued after July 1998.

This information is also available by calling 360-236-4700.

Consumers who think a health care provider acted unprofessionally are also encouraged to call and report their complaint.

Here is the March 2nd update issued by the Washington State Department of Health:

Note: Health care providers charged with unprofessional conduct have 20 days to respond to the Department of Health in writing. The case then enters the settlement process. If no disciplinary agreement can be reached, the case will go to a hearing.

State revokes, suspends licenses, certifications, registrations of health care providers

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health has revoked or suspended the licenses, certifications, or registrations of health care providers in our state.

The department has also immediately suspended the credentials of people who have been prohibited from practicing in other states.

The department’s Health Systems Quality Assurance Office works with boards, commissions and advisory committees to set licensing standards for more than 70 health care professions (e.g., medical doctors, nurses, counselors).

Information about health care providers is on the agency’s website. Click on “Provider Credential Search” on the left hand side of the Department of Health home page (www.doh.wa.gov).

The site includes information about a health care provider’s license status, the expiration and renewal date of their credential, disciplinary actions and copies of legal documents issued after July 1998.

This information is also available by calling 360-236-4700.

Consumers who think a health care provider acted unprofessionally are also encouraged to call and report their complaint.

Adams County

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Board indefinitely suspended the credential of pharmacy assistant Consuelo C. Garcia (VB60164007). Garcia accessed a patient’s medical records without need or authorization, and disclosed it to a third party without the patient’s authorization in an attempt to demean or injure the patient.

Benton County

In January 2012 the Nursing Commission indefinitely suspended the license of registered nurse Denelle R. Pepin-Donat (RN00145692). Pepin-Donat self-reported she’s addicted to Tramadol, a legend drug, and uses marijuana.

Clallam County

In January 2012 the Chemical Dependency Professional Program suspended the credential of William Sarna (CP00006278). Sarna failed to comply with a previous stipulation.

Clark County

In January 2012 the Nursing Commission indefinitely suspended the license of registered nurse Lisel N. Ham (RN00124453). Ham’s license to practice nursing in Oregon was suspended.

Island County

In January 2012 the Medical Commission revoked the license of physician Donald Russell Johnson (MC00038058). Russell closed his dermatology offices in Anacortes and Coupeville due to financial problems in July 2011. He pleaded guilty in February 2012 to domestic violence and violating a restraining order. Johnson was killed in a vehicle collision on February 12.

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Board summarily suspended the license of pharmacist Wendy S. Young, also known as Wendy S. Young-Guffey (PH00070944). Young’s license to practice pharmacy in Missouri was revoked; she remains prohibited from practicing in that state. Young has 20 days to contest the suspension.

King County

In January 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program suspended the credential of certified nursing assistant Devon L. Duff, also known as Devon L. Burlingame (NC10059114). Duff was convicted of third degree assault in 2011.

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Board indefinitely suspended the license of pharmacist Craig M. Goodmanson (PH00013643). Goodmanson failed to properly supervise ancillary pharmacy staff while Goodmanson was the responsible pharmacy manager. Goodmanson allowed the pharmacy to operate beyond the required one pharmacist to three technicians’ ratio.

In January 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program suspended the credential of certified nursing assistant Gus Ernie Hayes (NC10013627). Hayes was convicted of violation of no contact order in 2010. He also entered into deferred prosecution for charges of fourth degree assault and third degree malicious mischief—resisting arrest, both in 2010.

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Board indefinitely suspended the credential of pharmacy assistant Molly J. Humble (VB00070841). Humble diverted controlled substances and stole various items from her place of employment.

In January 2012 the Nursing Commission suspended the license of registered nurse Samuel Sarvis (RN00176573). Sarvis documented he provided in-home care to multiple patients, but didn’t actually provide the care.

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Board indefinitely suspended the credential of pharmacy technician Eric L. Wilson (VA00049888). Wilson diverted drugs for his own use and used synthetic urine during a urinalysis. 

Kitsap County

In January 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program suspended the credential of certified nursing assistant Joshua R. Miller (NC10060789). Miller was convicted of telephone harassment — domestic violence in 2009.

Okanogan County

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Board indefinitely suspended the credential of pharmacy technician Kelly J. Anderson (VA00066204). Anderson diverted 2,000 tablets of Oxycodone from her place of employment.

Pierce County

In December 2011 the Osteopathic Board of Medicine and Surgery summarily suspended the license of Louis W. Brittingham, Jr. (OP00000920). Brittingham surrendered his license to practice as an osteopathic physician and surgeon in Iowa; he remains prohibited from practicing in that state. Brittingham has twenty days to contest the suspension.

In January 2012 the Nursing Commission suspended the license of licensed practical nurse Tina M. Ponton (LP00054570). Ponton withdrew controlled substances, and failed to administer, waste, or document administration, and wastage. She was also charged with driving under the influence in 2010.

In January 2012 the Pharmacy Bard suspended the credential of pharmacy technician Kori A. Tainter (VA00045433). Tainter attempted to divert controlled substances, and without authorization modified the prescription information for a patient to allow for unlimited refills of a legend drug.

Snohomish County

In February 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program suspended the license of certified nursing assistant Josephine Karangan (NC10056110). Karangan physically and mentally abused two vulnerable adult patients on more than one occasion. The Department of Social and Health Services also entered a notice of final finding that Karangan abused the two patients.

In January 2012 the Nursing Commission suspended the license of registered nurse Robin K. Stake (RN00089693). Stake failed to comply with a previous stipulation.

In January 2012 the Nursing Assistant and Health Care Assistant Programs indefinitely suspended the credentials of registered nursing assistant and health care assistant Lacey Renee Standley(NA60079452, HC60111183). Standley submitted a prescription under a physician’s name for a family member without the physician’s knowledge or authorization. She also entered into a diversion program for the charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forged prescription.

Spokane County

In January 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program suspended the credential of registered nursing assistant Brittney R. Mukulich (NA60154536). Mukulich administered medication without being delegated to do so, and tested positive for amphetamines and morphine during a urinalysis.

In January 2012 the Nursing Commission suspended the license of licensed practical nurse Collee J. Wright (LP00054569). Wright diverted oxycontin from her place of employment, and tested positive for marijuana during a urinalysis.

Thurston County

In January 2012 the Nursing Assistant Program suspended the credential of registered nursing assistant Deborah Kendrick (NA00193662). Kendrick yelled profanities at a vulnerable patient on multiple occasions. Kendrick also forced the patient to clean the bathroom, and locked the patient in the bathroom for an extended period of time, causing emotional distress.

Out of State

Oklahoma: In February 2012 the Nursing Commission indefinitely suspended the license of registered nurse Heather K. Pemberton (RN60023461). Pemberton surrendered her license to practice nursing in Arizona.

Oregon: In January 2012 the Nursing Commission suspended the licenses of registered nurse and advanced registered nurse practitioner Maya G. Emshwiller (RN00170305, AP30008010-PSYC). Emshwiller surrendered her Oregon nurse license and Oregon nurse practitioner certification.

Oregon:  In January 2012 the Nursing Commission indefinitely suspended the license of Susan I. Pryce (RN00074680). Pryce failed to comply with a previous agreed order.

Pennsylvania: In January 2012 the Nursing Commission suspended the license of registered nurse Karen S. Remsing (RN00122593). Remsing was arrested for driving under the influence in 2008 and she tested positive for controlled substances during a blood draw analysis. She also tested positive for controlled substances during a urinalysis in 2010.

The Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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