Health Advisory issued after increases in Whooping Cough in Oakland County

- The Oakland County Health Division and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have issued a health advisory after a recent increase in whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

According to the health department, there have been 56 confirmed cases since November 1, 2016, until January 25. Over that same time period last year, there were only 10 cases. In all of 2015, there were a total of 59 cases.

Whooping Cough is most dangerous to infants under 12 months old.

"The State of Michigan is reporting an increase in  pertussis, especially in childcare and preschool settings where children  are not old enough to have received the complete five doses of vaccine  to be fully immunized," said Kathy Forzley, health officer at the Health  Division. "Antibiotics are effective in treating pertussis symptoms as  well as reduce the risk of a person who has been exposed to pertussis  from spreading the disease to others."

According to the Michigan Department of Health, infants who have not been fully vaccinated against whooping cough are at a greater risk of developing severe illness. Doses should be given at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months to be fully immunized. The last dose is given at 4 years old.

Symptoms of whooping cough include:

Cold-like symptoms
Mild cough or fever
Severe coughing after 1 to 2 weeks
Violent and rapid coughing until the air is gone from the lungs and people are forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound

In infants, the cough may be minimal or not even present. Other symptoms include:

Runny nose
Nasal congestion
Sneezing
Red, watery eyes
Mild fever
Dry cough
Vomiting after coughing fits

Whooping Cough is spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. It is most contagious during the first two weeks.

Parents are urged to vaccinate with their pediatrician. It's also available at Health Division walk-in  clinics in Pontiac and Southfield. Hours are Noon to 8:00 p.m. on  Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

The vaccination does not treat symptoms - but it helps prevent the disease.

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