Home > Wis. Has Most Cases of Whooping Cough in U.S.
Wis. Has Most Cases of Whooping Cough in U.S.
By Lindsey Moon
Friday, August 17, 2012, 5:02pm
Wisconsin is now seeing the highest number of whooping cough cases nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the state's numbers are ten times the national average.
Despite the nearly four thousand cases reported this year, the Department of Public Health has yet to declare the outbreak an epidemic. Other states, like Washington, have already done so even with fewer people infected.
Program Manager for the Wisconsin Immunization Program Dan Hopfensperger says the label associated with the outbreak does not matter as much as the action taken to control the spread of the disease. "We are aggressive with case identification and follow-up. I think we are similar, if not more aggressive, than the state of Washington and other states. So I don't know if labeling it an epidemic as opposed to a widespread outbreak is going to trigger any other activities we aren't already doing."
The highest numbers of infections in Wisconsin this year have been occurring in children ages 10 to 14. With schools either already in session or starting soon, officials urge parents to be aware of vaccination and booster requirements and recommendations. Hopfensperger says while vaccination may not be one-hundred percent effective, it is the best preventative measure available. "There is good evidence that people that have contracted the disease that have been immunized, their symptoms seems to be or less severe or are less severe than an individual who is not immunized."
The last outbreak of whooping cough in Wisconsin occurred in 2004 and 2005. In total, around 4,500 cases were reported during that time. If the current outbreak continues as it has, the state will exceed that figure.