Officials target pertussis outbreak

Families urged to exercise caution during holiday week.Clark County has seen a record number of cases this year.


Clark County health officials said that the pertussis outbreak has reached a record high with 98 suspected and confirmed cases since Oct. 1 and warned it could continue to spread through the holidays.

The disease, also known as whooping cough, could spread this week with children on break from school and families gathering for Thanksgiving, Clark County Combined Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

“With all of the schools being out at least four days and some of them five or six days, it’s going to have an impact. We hope it’s going to be a positive impact. (But) many times one of the issues around the holidays is people who are sick don’t want to stay home … unfortunately, if those people do go to those events, they could easily spread the pertussis bacterium to all the people in their family,” Patterson said.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease known for uncontrollable, violent coughing that often makes it hard to breathe.

“The disease is spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria,” according to Tessie Pollock, a spokeswoman with the Ohio Department of Health.

The Ohio Department of Health is encouraging residents statewide to get pertussis vaccinations as the outbreak has been seen in Clark County and other areas around Ohio, Pollock said.

This year, Ohio has seen a 20 percent increase in reported pertussis cases, compared to 2012. As of Nov. 2, there had been 901 cases reported in 2013, compared with 742 on the same date in 2012.

In Montgomery County, for example, 111 cases of whopping cough have been confirmed this year. That is an increase of nearly 400 percent by this time last year, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County reported.

As of Monday, Clark County had 31 confirmed cases, 66 suspected cases and one probable case since Oct. 1, Patterson said.

Clark, Madison, Pickaway, Licking, Delaware and Richland counties have the highest rates of the disease, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Patterson said the number of pertussis cases regionally and statewide was unexpected.

“Since we were keeping track of whooping cough cases for the last 25 years, this is definitely higher than we’ve ever seen. We used to get concerned when we would see two or three or four cases that were potentially at the same time. So now we’re seeing these numbers. These are unheard of in any recent years,” Patterson said.

Patterson said he would discourage residents who have pertussis and who have not been under a doctor’s care or who have not been treated with antibiotics for 48 hours from attending holiday gatherings.

Infants, the elderly and individuals with autoimmune disease are especially at risk and could suffer a more serious form of the disease.

The Clark County outbreak temporarily closed The Rocking Horse Center’s South Limestone Campus in Springfield on Nov. 1 and 2 after an employee was diagnosed with a confirmed case of pertussis. A second employee was later diagnosed as well.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

USS John S. McCain collision: Commander of Navy's 7th Fleet to be relieved of duty, officials say
USS John S. McCain collision: Commander of Navy's 7th Fleet to be relieved of duty, officials say

The commander of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet will be relieved of duty following the USS John S. McCain collision and other recent ship accidents, officials told The Associated Press.
Katy Perry addresses rumors she and ex Orlando Bloom rekindling their romance
Katy Perry addresses rumors she and ex Orlando Bloom rekindling their romance

While speaking with “The Morning Mashup,” singer Katy Perry made it clear that she doesn’t want to define her relationship with ex Orlando Bloom after fans spotted them enjoying a recent night out together. “Well, you know, I think people are in and out of your life. It’s nice to keep people you love around you...
Texas mother upset, says 4-year-old son could not attend school because of long hair
Texas mother upset, says 4-year-old son could not attend school because of long hair

A mother in the Houston, Texas, area is upset after she says her 4-year-old son was not allowed to go to school because of his long hair. Jessica Oates told Inside Edition on Tuesday that Barbers Hill Kindergarten Center in Mont Belvieu, Texas, would not let her son, Jabez, in school because of his hair. “When I went to enroll my child...
Wittenberg president: School must accept change, seek progress
Wittenberg president: School must accept change, seek progress

The new president of Wittenberg University spoke to faculty and students and welcomed them back to campus during convocation Tuesday. Mike Frandsen, who started as the liberal arts college’s 15th president on July 1, said he still believes liberal arts is important to higher education. “I believe what we do in liberal arts education is...
Couple to receive $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case
Couple to receive $3.4 million in ‘satanic day care’ case

Dan and Fran Keller, who spent more than 21 years in prison after they were accused of sexually abusing children during satanic rituals at their South Austin day care, will receive $3.4 million from a state fund for those wrongly convicted of crimes. Shortly after receiving the news Tuesday, an ecstatic Fran Keller said they will no longer have to...
More Stories