Whooping cough on the rise in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Whooping cough on the rise in Michigan

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Health officials say a potentially deadly disease in infants is on the rise in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services along with the Oakland County Health Division are warning parents of an increase in the number of pertussis cases, also known as whooping cough.

There were 185 identified pertussis cases in Oakland County last year, accounting for 41 percent of 448 cases statewide. That's more than four times the 43 cases the county had in 2015, when it accounted for 9 percent of 496 cases statewide.

“The State of Michigan is reporting an increase in pertussis, especially in childcare and preschool settings where children are not old enough to have received the complete five doses of vaccine to be fully immunized,” said Kathy Forzley, health officer at the Health Division. “Antibiotics are effective in treating pertussis symptoms as well as reduce the risk of a person who has been exposed to pertussis from spreading the disease to others.”

Pertussis is a very contagious disease that spreads easily. Infants young than 12 months are at the greatest risk, experts say.

The illness usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. After 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing begins.

Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and people are forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound.

Those infected can spread the disease by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others who breathe in the bacteria.

The MDHHS said infants and children should receive the DTaP vaccine to prevent against the illness. Doses of the vaccine are given at 2, 4, 6 and 15 months. The last dose is given at 4 years old.

For more information on whooping cough, click here

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