Whooping cough is once again making its mark across the Miami Valley, with Clark County officials reporting 11 cases this week.
Cases of whooping cough, known medically as pertussis, have been reported in counties including Montgomery, Greene and Clark. The disease is caused by bacteria and is very contagious, according to health officials. The most recent data from the Clark County Combined Health District shows that 11 cases have been reported since Friday. By comparison, the district reported 15 cases in 2012.
The department has yet to determine a clear link between the cases, officials said. However, participation in group activities such as swimming, other sports, workshops and employment among large groups of people have been reported among infected people, according to a memo sent by the district to local health care providers.
Pertussis can be spread person-to-person through coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others who breathe in the bacteria, according to the health district.
Whooping cough often starts with flu-like symptoms like sneezing, dry cough, slight fever and loss of appetite, followed by two to six weeks of coughing spells, according to Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“Pertussis is an infection in the lungs caused by bacteria most often found in infants and young children,” said Dr. Sherman Alter, director of infectious disease at Dayton Children’s. “It is very contagious and easily spreads.”
On July 2, the Greene County Combined Health District announced it saw an increase of six infected persons in the six days previous.
Dayton Children’s treated at least 11 cases of whooping cough within two weeks toward the end of June, according to a news release.
Pertussis is most severe in infants, according to GCCHD. In rare cases, it can be deadly.
Greene County officials said there is high vaccine coverage for children nationwide, but protection from the disease fades over time, requiring adolescents and adults to be re-vaccinated.
— Staff Writer William Garbe is a senior at the University of Dayton.