Wisconsin has seen an increase in the cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, among children during the summer. The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services issued fact sheets to help people know about the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Pertussis is a bacterial disease that is spread through the air by direct fact-to-face contact with a case of pertussis. It begins with cold-like symptoms and a cough that becomes much worse in one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. There is generally no fever, but following a series of coughs, people with pertussis may vomit, turn blue or have difficulty catching their breath. The cough is often worse at night, and cough medicines do not alleviate it.
Pertussis is most serious in infants and preschoolers who have not received DTaP vaccine, which is only licensed for children ages two months to six years.
DHFS advises that parents of preschool children should ensure that DTaP immunizations are up to date, and people suspected of having pertussis should avoid close contact with infants and preschool children until they have received appropriate antibiotic treatment.
For more information, please contact your local health department or DHFS at (608) 266-1251.