Detroit/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on June 13, 2024
Washtenaw County Confronts Rise in Whooping Cough Cases Among Vaccinated Teens and Young AdultsSource: Google Street View

Washtenaw County is seeing a concerning uptick in whooping cough cases, with health officials reporting 21 incidents so far this year. This marks a distinct rise from the last three years, according to Click On Detroit. The Washtenaw County Health Department is emphasizing this increase and noting that the majority of cases have appeared in teens and young adults—a demographic typically believed to have protection due to vaccination efforts.

The notable surge in whooping cough, caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, is particularly troubling given that most individuals affected have been vaccinated. The protection, however, dwindles after two years, leaving young people more susceptible, MLive Michigan reports. Pertussis is known for its severe coughing fits that can result in a "whooping" sound when a person breathes in; thus far, no hospitalizations have been connected to the current outbreak.

Underscoring the gravity of the situation, the Washtenaw County Health Department's epidemiology program manager, Laura Bauman, urged swift action. "Pertussis, unfortunately, seems to be returning," Bauman stated. as per WXYZ. She further stressed that quick identification and treatment of cases are crucial because "illness from pertussis can be serious, especially for infants." Complications from the illness include pneumonia, rib fractures, convulsions, and, in severe cases, brain damage. Protecting the most vulnerable—particularly infants under three months old who are at the highest risk for fatality—is paramount.

To stave off transmission, health authorities recommend antibiotics for those diagnosed, and for all household contacts as a preventative measure. Infected individuals should be isolated until they have completed at least a five-day course of antibiotics. Washtenaw County residents are also reminded of the importance of vaccination, with DTaP and Tdap vaccines available to help prevent the disease. Those who believe they may have been exposed or are showing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider or the health department at 734-544-6700 for guidance, as emphasized by MLive Michigan.