Between Jan. 1 and July 22, 72 pertussis cases were reported to Maine CDC, compared to 20 cases reported for the same period in 2010. Clusters of pertussis cases have been reported in schools, camps, sport teams, and workplaces with the largest number of clusters identified in Penobscot county. Cases range in age from 1 month to 79 years. One infant has recently been hospitalized with life-threatening symptoms.
Pertussis is a highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that can last for many weeks. It is transmitted through direct contact with the respiratory secretions of infected people. Symptoms include cough, paroxysms, whoop, and post-tussive vomiting. 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.
For more information and clinical guidance, please see this Health Alert.