REGION – Central Michigan District Health Department has received increased reports of pertussis (also known as Whooping Cough) primarily in Clare County, but also in the counties of Osceola and Isabella. These cases are primarily affecting families in the Amish Community at this time, however with the normal summer activities (camps, church events, parties, festivals) the possibility for spreading this illness heightens. Additional cases are likely to be reported.
Pertussis starts out like the common cold. The initial symptoms last a week. A cough that is often severe then develops and can last as long as twelve weeks. Young infants can have difficulty breathing, may need to be hospitalized, and may even die due to whooping cough. This disease is very contagious and is spread by respiratory droplets from coughing. People with pertussis can transmit the germ for four weeks after becoming ill.
The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. We recommend that parents review their children’ immunization records to be certain they have received all of their immunizations. Children usually receive a series of the vaccine in early infancy and another dose before starting school. Adolescents and adults also need to get a booster dose to help protect them as they get older.
Anyone with pertussis should stay home until five days of antibiotic treatment has been completed. People that live with someone with pertussis should talk to their doctor about receiving a course of antibiotics to prevent the spread of the infection.
If you have questions about pertussis, please contact your family doctor or your local health department branch office.
This article has been brought to you by Central Michigan District Health Department, which serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon. Visit our website at www.cmdhd.org, LIKE Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CMiDHD.