Michigan sees pertussis cases spike

Michigan state health officials have reported that whooping cough cases have risen sharply over the past few years and that more adults, especially those who have contact with babies should be vaccinated to prevent the spread.

The state reported 1,554 cases in 2010, up from 900 in 2009 and 274 in 2007. There have been 23 cases so far in 2011, according to Click on Detroit.

Washtenaw County had the most cases in Michicagn in 2010 with 233. Other counties with high case rates included Oakland County with 159, Livingston County with 121, Wayne County with 94 and Monroe County with 61.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a respiratory system infection. Symptoms include a low grade fever, runny nose, sneezing and severe coughing spells that end with a whooping sound.

Health experts are urging all residents, particularly those who have contact with babies, to be vaccinated. Adults need a booster to be protected against pertussis.

By state rules, students in Michigan who are entering sixth grade and those  between ages 11 and 18 who are changing districts must be up-to-date on vaccines for pertussis along with chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria and meningococcal disease.

Vaccines against pertussis and other diseases are available from doctors' offices and health departments.