Whooping Cough Continues Spread Nationally

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 8:02am

Vaccinations for Adults and Kids Encouraged & Booster Shots for Teens Now Required

According to a report posted by MSNBC on Wednesday July 28th "Growing outbreaks of whooping cough - including a California epidemic that has killed six babies - are worrying public health officials who fear that sporadic vaccination practices may be contributing to dangerous cases of the preventable disease."

In our area, Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) continues to see pertussis (whooping cough) cases with 14 being reported in Dane County from the beginning of the year through July 29th, 4 of these in the past week.

According to Dr. Thomas L. Schlenker, Director of PHMDC, "Whooping cough is still widespread in the United States, affects all ages and can cause serious illness even death in infants and young children. Avoid the back to school rush; get vaccinated now."

The early symptoms of whooping cough are like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing and maybe a mild cough or fever. After 1-2 weeks rapid violent coughing begins which empties the lungs forcing the child to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. (Check this link to hear the sound http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/pertussis/pertussis_sounds.htm)

The best protection for your family and the community is to have all adults and children immunized. This is particularly important for the protection of babies not yet fully vaccinated, who are isolated from exposure if they are in contact with people who have been immunized, an especially relevant point for parents of babies and pregnant couples

Public Health continues to recommend that parents and health care professionals make a continued effort to make sure that children are immunized. The needed vaccine (DTaP) should be given in a scheduled series at
• 2 months of age,
• at 4 months,
• at 6 months,
• at 15 to 18 months,
• and the fifth, at 4 - 6 years of age

Tdap vaccinations are also important for teens especially since, as of September 2010, it is required for students in grades 6-12.

In Dane County, only 79% of all children turning 2 years old in 2009 had had all 4 of their DTaP shots. Increasing this percentage will help stop the spread of this infection.

For more detailed information on pertussis (whooping cough), and vaccination details, see the following links:




Public Health Madison & Dane County


  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302