1 Case of Whooping Cough in Waukesha School District
Parents and others to be alert for more cases of pertussis.
There has been one confirmed case of pertussis in the School District of Waukesha. The case was at Horning Middle School, according to School District Nurse Twyla Lato.
Last year, the district had no cases of pertussis.
Pertussis activity remains at increased levels in several areas of Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Heath.
Recently, nine cases of pertussis were confirmed in Menomonee Falls. The City of Milwaukee has had a “significant” number of cases of pertussis, too, according to the Milwaukee Health Department.
The incidence of pertussis was highest among children less than one-year-old and children between the ages of 10 and 14.
Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough because of the distinctive cough a person develops, is a contagious bacterial disease that affects the respiratory tract. It can infect persons of all ages but is most serious in infants and young children. The bacteria are spread by contact with the respiratory droplets from an infected person through coughing. Exposure usually occurs after repeated indoor face-to face contact. Household spread is common.
Pertussi is treated with antibiotics and can be prevented with immunizations.
In infants and young children, the disease begins much like a cold with a runny nose, possible low-grade fever and a mild but irritating cough for 1-2 weeks. The illness progresses to spells of explosive coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating and sleeping and is commonly followed by vomiting and exhaustion. Following the cough, the patients may make a loud crowing or "whooping" sound as they struggle to inhale air (hence the common name "whooping cough"). The severe coughing spells can last for several weeks to two months or longer. In older children, adolescents and adults the symptoms are usually milder and without the typical whoop.
In infants less than six months of age, the most common complication is bacterial pneumonia (17 percent) followed by neurologic complications such as seizures (2.1 percent) and encephalopathy (0.2 percent). Loss of weight from nutritional disturbance and dehydration is also a complication from the disease. More than half of the infants with confirmed pertussis require hospitalization.