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Published On: Sun, Jun 17th, 2012

Iowa health officials report an 350% increase in whooping cough cases in 2012

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported Friday that the state has seen 485 pertussis cases so far in 2012. This is up dramatically from the five-year average of 108 cases for the same time frame.

Photo credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills

According to a IDPH Infectious Disease Briefing Friday, historically, pertussis activity has been cyclical with increased activity observed every three to five years; therefore the current activity is not unexpected. High levels of activity last occurred in 2004 (1066 cases reported) and 2005 (1106 cases reported), and the number of cases also increased moderately in 2010.

There have been no deaths reported so far this year.

Whooping cough is caused by the bacteria, Bordetella pertussis. This vaccine-preventable disease is spread through direct contact with respiratory discharges via the airborne route.

Pertussis goes through a series of stages in the infected person; initially a irritating cough followed by repeated, violent coughing. The disease gets its nickname by coughing without inhaling air giving the characteristic high-pitched whoop. Certain populations may not have the typical whoop like infants and adults.

It is highly communicable, especially in very early stages and the beginning of coughing episodes, for approximately the first 2 weeks. Then the communicability gradually decreases and at 3 weeks it is negligible, though the cough my last for months.

Pertussis is an endemic disease found worldwide.

Those that are not immunized are susceptible to this disease. Young infants and school aged children (who are frequently the source of infection for younger siblings) are at greatest risk.

More on Pertussis Vaccination

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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