Whooping Cough Reported at Record Pace

Whooping Cough Reported at Record Pace Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jul 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

ST. PAUL, MN (KNSI) - Minnesota is on pace to set a record for the number of confirmed whooping cough cases.

Seven years ago when numbers topped 1500, that represented a record total of reported cases since the 1950s for Minnesota. This year the Minnesota Department of Health has seen more than 1700 cases reported.

"We are on pace to double what was already more cases than we had seen in half a century," state immunization director Kris Ehresmann said. "While we expect to see peaks and valleys, each successive peak is higher than the last. And what is happening now in 2012 is really unprecedented, both nationally and in Minnesota."

Nationally, nearly 18-thousand cases of whooping cough have been reported so far this year.

In adults, whopping cough may be nothing more than a nagging, nuisance cough. But, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, in kids, the virus can be deadly.

"Definitely for infants and young children pertussis can be fatal. In California in 2010 they had a number of infant deaths from pertussis," Ehresmann said. "In Minnesota we too have had deaths from pertussis, thankfully the last death was in 2006."

As a best possible precaution Ehressman recommends people get vaccinated for the virus.

"In the last six years there's been a vaccine that has been available for teens and adults that adds the pertussis or whooping cough component," Ehressman said. "So when people think, every 10 years I need to get a TD booster, well now that vaccine actually includes pertussis."

The new combo booster is referred to as the Tdap vaccine.

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