Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pertussis

Maine, like many other states, has been experiencing an increasing number of pertussis cases over the past year. Between January 1 and May 11 of this year, 55 pertussis cases have been reported to Maine CDC from nine Maine counties.

More than 200 cases of pertussis were reported to Maine CDC in 2011, far exceeding the 53 reported cases in 2010 and the 10-year average of 82 cases per year.

Clusters of pertussis have occurred in schools, child care centers, camps, sport teams, and workplaces. Pertussis is a highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that can last for many weeks. It is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory secretions of infected persons. Classic pertussis symptoms include paroxysmal cough, whoop, and posttussive vomiting. Pertussis can cause serious illness 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.

For more information, see Maine CDC’s May 15 Health Alert (http://go.usa.gov/pa9) or visit http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis/

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