State health officials are urging residents to get the whooping cough vaccine.
Wisconsin is experiencing a widespread pertussis outbreak, with 1,674 confirmed and probable cases of the disease. Pertussis — or whooping cough — is a contagious bacterial disease affecting the respiratory tract and is spread by coughing, usually during repeated face-to-face contact. “Pertussis can affect all ages; our primary concern are children under a year of age.”
Dan Hopfensperger, director of Wisconsin Immunization program, says the best defense against pertussis is vaccination. He says it’s very contagious. “As shown by the number of cases we have, it can spread very quickly. It’s usually by prolonged face to face contact.”
Hopfensperger says antibiotic treatment can shorten the time when individuals are contagious. Pertussis can begin like a cold, and will progress to include explosive coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating and sleeping.
State health officials are urging Wisconsin residents to seek pertussis vaccinations, especially considering summer camps and other programs for children are starting in the next few weeks.
Individuals with pertussis should be isolated from school, work or other activities until completing at least the first five days of the recommended antibiotic therapy.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:38