Thursday, January 6, 2011

Increase in pertussis

Since November 1, 2010, there have been 14 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) reported to Maine CDC. Cases have been reported in Cumberland, Aroostook, Androscoggin, and Hancock counties with an identified cluster of cases in Penobscot county. Cases range in age from 7 years to 60 years. For the same time frame in 2009, 7 cases of pertussis were reported.

Coughing fits due to pertussis infection can last for up to 10 weeks or more; sometimes known as the “100 day cough.” Pertussis can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults and can even be life-threatening, especially in infants. More than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get pertussis must be hospitalized.

The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination with DTaP for infants and children and with Tdap for pre-teens, teens and adults — protection from the childhood vaccine fades over time. Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease.

For more information, see this Health Alert.

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