Dayton, Ohio facing increase in whooping cough cases

Dayton, Ohio, has been hit by a wave of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases, especially among children.

The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton has confirmed 71 positive tests for pertussis this year, which is on pace to surpass the 81 cases that appeared in 2005, the year of a localized outbreak. No deaths have been reported, according to the Dayton Daily News.

The majority of Dayton Children’s positive whooping cough tests results have come from Montgomery, Greene, Miami and Clark counties, Terrie Koss, and infection preventionist, told the Dayton Daily News.

Pertussis is a contagious and severe respiratory illness that causes violent coughing fits that last for weeks. Children are most at risk. Clogged and smaller air pathways in children make it more difficult for them to breathe when they have the illness. This constriction often results in the whooping sound during coughing fits that gives pertussis its other moniker - whooping cough.

Complications of pertussis include, but are not limited to, pneumonia, convulsions and apnea. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 100 infants die from the condition. In California, which is facing its worst outbreak in 60 years, 10 infants have died.

Ohio health officials are recommending that everyone between the ages of 11 and 64 get the pertussis vaccine, known as Tdap. It is now required to be administered the vaccine before seventh grade for Ohio children.