Thursday, September 3, 2015

A whooping cough outbreak in suburban Philly?

In June, California declared a whooping cough epidemic as cases surged to four times the normal number. Now a small increase in cases of the illness in suburban Philadelphia has prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Health to urge residents make sure their vaccinations are up to date. In an article in The Inquirer Tuesday, my colleague Don Sapatkin wrote that there was no notable increase of the illness in Philadelphia (which requires booster shots for children entering 6th grade) or other parts of Pennsylvania or in New Jersey Still several suburban counties have seen a rise in the last two months.

A whooping cough outbreak in suburban Philly?

0 comments

In June, California declared a whooping cough epidemic as cases surged to four times the normal number. Now a small increase in cases of the illness in suburban Philadelphia has prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Health to urge residents make sure their vaccinations are up to date.

In an article in The Inquirer Tuesday, my colleague Don Sapatkin wrote that there was no notable increase of the illness in Philadelphia (which requires booster shots for children entering 6th grade) or other parts of Pennsylvania or in New Jersey Still several suburban counties have seen a rise in the last two months. Here's some of what he wrote:

The significance of the increases - in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and in particular, Delaware Counties - is not clear. Although the short-term trend is up, health officials in some of the counties said the numbers this year were not much different from the same period last year. ...

… [A] few outbreaks of whooping cough, known medically as pertussis, have been reported around the country this year. By far the biggest is in California, where state health officials counted 3,076 confirmed and suspected cases through last Tuesday, a number seven times higher than the same period last year. Eight infants have died.

More coverage
 
5th-grader wants bullying to stop; Obama agrees

No one is known to have died in Southeastern Pennsylvania. But the potential danger to infants who have not yet developed immunity - the vaccine is given in a series of shots at months 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18, with a booster at 4 to 6 years - prompted the state's announcement Monday. ...

… Pertussis is a highly communicable disease that can last for weeks and in children typically cause spasms of severe coughing, "whooping," and vomiting.

After an incubation that most often is seven to 10 days but can be much shorter or longer, the illness first shows up as a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, and occasionally, a cough that is similar to that of a cold, according to a state health department advisory.

It usually is not diagnosed until a week or so later, after the cough gradually becomes more severe; difficulty breathing in after uncontrolled coughing can cause a telltale high-pitched whoop.

The symptoms often worsen for one to two weeks and then continue for several weeks before subsiding.
Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics.

To check out more Check Up items go to www.philly.com/checkup.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Check Up is a blog for savvy health consumers, covering the latest developments, discoveries, and debates from the Philadelphia area and beyond.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Charlotte Sutton Health and Science Editor, Philadelphia Inquirer
Tom Avril Inquirer Staff Writer, heart health and general science
Stacey Burling Inquirer Staff Writer, neuroscience and aging
Marie McCullough Inquirer Staff Writer, cancer and women's health
Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist in the Philadelphia Area
Latest Health Videos
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter