Number of whooping cough cases climbs in Mobile County
Sept. 4, 2014
MOBILE, Ala. – Seventy-eight cases related to the pertussis outbreak have been reported by the Mobile County Health Department this year. Known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease marked by uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe.
Between May and Sept. 3, 2014, Mobile County reported 78 pertussis cases. That number is up from 27 cases reported in June 20, 2014. In all of 2013, only eight confirmed and probable cases were reported in Mobile County. Of the 78 cases reported so far in the most recent outbreak, 63 have been confirmed, health officials said. There are 13 probable cases. There are open investigations on seven of the pertussis cases.
Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year old, health officials said. After a coughing fit, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which can result in a “whooping” sound. The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization.
Doctors who have diagnosed local cases urge residents to be aware of the disease and its consequences. Once a pertussis case has been confirmed, all family members residing with the infected person should receive treatment with antibiotics.
Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, a Tdap vaccination became mandatory for students age 11 and older entering the sixth grade in Alabama. The Tdap shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
Vaccinations are available on weekdays at MCHD’s downtown location, 251 North Bayou St., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All required or recommended vaccinations are free or low-cost based on eligibility. Appointments are recommended, but not required. Parents and caregivers must bring their children’s immunizations records, Social Security cards and Medicaid cards or other insurance verification. Immunizations by appointment are available at all Family Health locations in Mobile. For appointments, call 251-690-8889.
Here are two links from the CDC to hear what whooping cough sounds like: