Whooping cough cases on declinePublished 4:22pm Saturday, July 28, 2012
More than 80 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the last two months in Freeborn County, but local officials say the rate of cases is slowing.
Freeborn County Public Health Director Sue Yost said 75 percent of the cases have been in youth ages 11 to 13; however, there have been some cases reported in younger children and in adults as well.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the infection may begin with a runny nose, sneezing, mild cough and possibly a low-grade fever. However, after one or two weeks, the cough worsens and begins to occur in sudden, uncontrollable bursts. These coughing attacks can end in vomiting or in a high-pitched whooping noise and often happen at night, with the cough lasting up to three months.
Yost said as of last week, there were 1,758 cases reported across the state and Minnesota has been declared to be in an epidemic of the infection.
There were 400 cases reported statewide just in the first 20 days of July, and the state in the first seven months of the year has already surpassed the yearly average of 2008-10 of a little more than 1,000 cases.
Yost encouraged people to make sure they are up-to-date with their vaccines. She said the pertussis vaccine is given with the tetanus-diptheria booster.
Freeborn County Public Health has doses of the vaccine for uninsured and underinsured residents for a $5 donation.
Yost encouraged anyone with a cough to be checked out by their local provider.
People with whooping cough should not go to school, work or any activities until they have finished five days of antibiotic treatment, unless the person has already been coughing for three or more weeks.
Although the cough can last longer than three weeks, a person is no longer contagious after the third week.
If people have questions, they can contact the Freeborn County Public Health Department at 377-5100.