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Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Cases on the Rise in Hillsdale County

Friday June 21, 2019

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency has received increased reports of Pertussis (also known as Whooping Cough) in Hillsdale County. These cases are being seen in school aged children and adults.

With the onset of summer in Michigan and normal summer activities that bring together groups of people, the spread of illness can increase. Yvonne Atwood, Director of Personal Health and Disease Prevention for the Tri-county Health Department urges “anyone with Pertussis symptoms need to see their Provider right away to get tested. Anyone who wants to check on their immunization history can contact the local health department office and schedule a vaccination appointment if vaccines are due.”

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’s 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.