Whooping cough cases up 40 percent in Ohio

Health officials in Ohio are have announced that the number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases are up 40 percent in the state this year, a situation that mirrors trends seen elsewhere.

Jen House, an Ohio Health Department spokeswoman, told that 1,345 cases were reported statewide by the end of October. That is more case 400 than were reported in the first ten months of 2009.

More than half of this year’s infections have been in Franklin  county, which includes the city of Columbus. The city’s health commissioner is urging residents to be vaccinated to fight the growing infections.

House told that northwest Ohio’s Allen and Henry counties and central Ohio’s Union County are also seeing a high number of cases. Central Ohio, she said, is seeing its worse outbreak in at least 25 years.

Experts believe pertussis trends tend to run in cycles. Currently, there is an upsurge in cases across the country. California is seeing twice as many cases as it did during its last peak year in 2005.

Columbus Health Commissioner Teresa Long told that cases have been seen in people of all ages, from two-week-old infants to 100-year-old adults. Infant cases are of extra concern because they may require hospitalization.

In California, 10 infants have died from pertussis. Long said they are striving to make sure Ohio does not suffer the same scenario.

Long recommends that anyone who has an infant or young children be given a booster vaccine.