Pertussis, commonly known as the whooping cough, is making the rounds in metro Atlanta. As of July 28, 95 cases have been reported; this time last year, that number was 51.
“Though we have not seen a substantial increase in the number of whooping cough cases statewide, the increase in whooping cough cases in highly-populated metroAtlanta is of concern,” said state epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek, D.V.M. in a recent statement.
National trends are similar, and the U.S. seems to be headed for its highest number of cases in over 50 years. Nearly 18,000 cases have been reported so far this year nationally compared to half that this time last year.
Whooping cough is very contagious and is most serious in infants. It starts with symptoms similar to a cold followed by a cough that can last for months.
It is recommended that everyone over 11 get a whooping cough booster shot, since the vaccines wear off over time. It is especially important if you are in close contact with infants.
“This disease can be very serious for young babies, who often get whooping cough from adults and other family members. Most infected infants must be hospitalized,” said J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., director of health protection.