State whooping cough cases double

July 28, 2017 GMT

An increase of whooping cough cases statewide has the state health department urging residents to take precautions against the “very contagious” bacterial illness, according to a news release.

A total of 136 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, were confirmed in Indiana in the first half of 2017, which is more than double the 66 cases seen during the same period last year, the release said.

Allen County has had fewer than five cases, said Megan Tinkel, Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health spokeswoman.

State law prohibits the exact number from being reported when it is less than five for geographical areas smaller than the state.

The Indiana State Department of Health expects the increase in cases will continue because whooping cough tends to be cyclical, the release said.

“Pertussis is very contagious and can cause serious complications, especially in young infants,” state health Commissioner Jerome Adams said in a statement. “I urge Hoosiers to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated and following good cough etiquette and hand washing practices.”

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health recommends residents ensure their whooping cough vaccine is up-to-date, especially parents-to-be, grandparents and other family members who are around babies, Tinkel said.

Children younger than 7 may receive the DTaP vaccine, and people older than 10 may get the Tdap vaccine, the release said.

Symptoms of whooping cough, which is transmitted by nose or throat droplets, typically begin seven to 10 days after exposure and can include prolonged cough, bursts of coughing that may cause difficulty catching one’s breath or vomiting following coughing, the release said.

In infants, pertussis can cause poor feeding, weight loss, slowed or stopped breathing, pneumonia, seizures or death, the release said.

The state health department encourages those with a prolonged cough to seek medical attention to determine whether testing or treatment for whooping cough is appropriate.

Allen County residents uncertain about their vaccination status may call the local health department at 260-449-7504.