According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), pertussis, or whooping cough, cases are on the rise in the east and southeastern regions of Nebraska.
“There were more than 200 whooping cough cases in January which is higher than some of our total case numbers for previous years and that’s concerning,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska DHHS, in a DHHS news release. “Parents should check their children’s vaccination records as well as their own to make sure everyone is protected.”
Last year, Nebraska had 395 reported cases, 240 in 2013 and 242 in 2012.
According to Public Health Services, pertussis is a respiratory tract infection caused by bacteria. If a person is taking an antibiotic, they are considered contagious until the five days after the antibiotic have been completed. If there is no antibiotic involved, a person is considered contagious for 21 days after severe coughing begins.
Whooping cough can affect people of all ages but is most common in infants and young children, according to DHHS. It can be life-threatening especially for babies under a year old.
For more information, visit dhhs.ne.gov, nebraskamed.com and phsneb.org.