Record Whooping Cough Year Possible

Jul 27, 2012

Pertussis, more commonly known as ‘whooping cough,’ continues to show up at doctors’ offices across Kentucky.  It could be a record setting year in the Commonwealth…Five years ago, in 2007, State epidemiologist Craig Humbaugh says there were fewer than 50 whooping cough cases in Kentucky.  Just over six months into 2012, Humbaugh says the number of cases exceeds 170

“I think we’re on track potentially to have our biggest year ever in terms of pertussis cases in the last ten years that we’ve tracked cases,” said Humbaugh.

Health officials are promoting vaccinations against whooping cough.  If infected, very young children can develop serious health complications.  Madison County Health Department spokeswoman Christie Green says not all whooping cough patients know the nature of their illness.

“It may be pertussis or whooping cough, we’re not thinking of that or being checked for that, and in that process then we’re infecting others with this illness that’s potentially dangerous for babies,” said Green.

Green says informing Kentucky’s Spanish speaking population about whooping cough presents challenges.  She says spreading the word within that community is partly the responsibility of the Kentucky Outreach and Information Network.