Health, Science & The Environment
7:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Whooping Cough Cases On Track For Highest Total Since 2010

The name makes it sound like an old-fashioned disease, but whooping cough cases are up. And state health officials are encouraging Ohioans to get booster shots.

The Ohio Department of Health says the highly contagious cough is one of the most commonly occurring, but vaccine-preventable, diseases in the United States. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is usually spread by coughing or sneezing.

It often starts with cold-like symptoms before turning into a persistent cough with spasms.

As of last week, 901 cases were reported in Ohio.  That’s on track to be the most since cases the last peak, in 2010.

Although babies are vaccinated against the disease, immunity wanes in adolescence, and a booster is now recommended for seventh graders. More than half of infants less than 1 year of age with pertussis must be hospitalized.