The Centers for Disease Control have released the latest data on reported cases of pertussis or whooping cough in the nation. The report is through March 24 and covers the first twelve weeks of the year. New York State ranks second in the nation in the number of reported cases of whooping cough, trailing only Wisconsin.
Cases of pertussis are reportable to New York State and to the Federal Government. The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for week 12 of 2012 shows that New York City has reported 102 cases of pertussis so far, and the rest of the state has reported 461 cases. Nationally, 4,226 cases have been reported and the New York whooping cough cases make up 13 percent of that total. Wisconsin leads the nation with reporting 618 cases of the illness.
The data is preliminary. It will be at least two years before the data will be considered final by the CDC. A cases of pertussis is reported to the CDC if it is confirmed by a blood test and the patient had a persistant cough for longer than 10 to 14 days.
WBNG News, on March 23, reported that Tompkins County has a pertussis outbreak. The Tompkins County Health Department told them that 25 confirmed cases of whooping cough had be reported in that county in 2012. Just three weeks earlier than the WBNG report, the county had confirmed only 9 whooping cough cases. Tompkins County is home to Cornell University, Ithaca College and the city of Ithaca.
Tioga County, also on March 23, told News Channel 34 that they had confirmed cases of pertussis in the county. WBNG puts the number of cases at 2. Tioga County is south of Tompkins and located between Elmira and Binghamton.
On March 1, the Erie County Department of Health announced that it had 19 confirmed or probable cases of pertussis reported in the county. The City of Buffalo and its suburbs are part of Erie County.
County data on the ages of those sickened by whooping cough in 2011 mirrors the national experience. Infants and young people around age 10 are the population becoming ill. Infants have not received all their vaccinations. New York now requires a booster for pertussis for all children before they enter grade six.
Pertussis is very contagious. Infants are at high risk of hospitalization and even death from the illness. A series of vaccinations can provide protection. Patients with whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics. The cough produced by the infection can linger for ten weeks or more.