July 23, 2014

Watch out for whooping cough

Federal health officials are encouraging Wisconsinites to get vaccinated for pertussis (whooping cough). The Badger State leads the nation with 3,110 cases this year compared to 1,411 last year.

CDC Epidemiologist Stacey Martin says luckily there have been no deaths from the disease in the Badger State although nationally nine babies have died. She says infants are at highest risk as they cannot get a pertussis vaccine. She urges someone suspected of having whooping cough to stay away from babies.

She says those suspected of having whooping cough should go to the doctor to prevent it from spreading to others. Symptoms include a prolonged cough that progressively becomes worse.

In Wisconsin, the greatest number of cases is in Dane, Outagamie, Waukesha, and Milwaukee Counties. Reported incidence (newly diagnosed cases) was greatest in Forest, Columbia, Outagamie, and Calumet Counties.