The pertussis, or whooping cough situation in 2015 can be summed up with one stat–there has been more pertussis cases in Clark County this year to date (268) than the number seen statewide during the same period in 2014 (267).
Through August 22, Washington has reported 1,108 pertussis cases to date, or more than 4-times that of last year.
Thirty-three of the 39 counties in the state has reported some pertussis activity.Other counties reporting more than 100 cases include Snohomish (182), King (161) Pierce (131) and Kitsap with 101.
In the past 3 years, Washington health officials have reported 463 cases in 2014, 748 in 2013 and 4,916 in 2012.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious bacterial infection. Whooping cough spreads easily by coughing and sneezing and mainly affects the respiratory system (the organs that help you breathe).
Whooping cough is very serious, especially for babies and young kids. Whooping cough can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death. Babies younger than one year of age who get whooping cough may be hospitalized or even die.
Whooping cough is generally treated with antibiotics. It’s important to start treatment as soon as possible to help keep from spreading the disease to others. Early treatment can also make the symptoms end sooner and be less severe.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to lower the risk of getting whooping cough. It’s important to wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home whenever you’re sick.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today
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