The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates a sharp increase in the number of pertussis (whooping cough cases) in 2012 over the incidence in 2011. Provisional counts from the CDC surveillance system indicate that more than 36,000 cases of pertussis were reported to CDC through November 17, 2012. 16 pertussis-related deaths have been reported during that same time period. The majority of deaths continue to occur among infants younger than 3 months of age. The incidence rate of pertussis among infants exceeds that of all other age groups. The second highest rates of disease are observed among children 7 through 10 years old. Rates are also increased in adolescents 13 and 14 years of age. It should also be noted that many pertussis cases are never reported.
As of November 21, 2012, 49 states and Washington, D.C. have reported increases in the disease compared with the same time period in 2011. Illinois, with an incidence of 12.3/100,000 persons, joins 22 other states in having rates higher than the national average for 2012 of 9.3/100,000 persons.
Pertussis is an endemic (common) disease in the United States, with peaks in disease every 3 to 5 years and frequent outbreaks. The incubation Period is commonly 7 days, but generally not exceeding 21 days. Outbreaks in institutional settings (schools, hospitals) are common and the disease is extremely communicable for periods depending on whether or not the patient has been treated with antibiotics. Pertussis manifests as an irritating cough that develops into a violent, spasmodic cough within one to two weeks.
The best way to prevent the disease is through vaccinations. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP. The whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both protect against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. Incidence of the disease should be reported as soon as possible, but within twenty-four hours, to the Will County Health Department.
CDC Pertussis Outbreak