Whooping cough cases surpass 100 in Montgomery County

County reports 103 cases in 2023, of which 89 have been since Aug. 1.

Credit: Angie Wang

Credit: Angie Wang

The number of whooping cough cases have greatly increased in Montgomery County since August and health officials are concerned that upcoming holiday gatherings will increase the chance of more infections.

There have been 103 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, reported in Montgomery County so far this year with 89 of the cases happening since Aug. 1.

The cases are throughout the county with cases and involve anyone from one week old to 81 years. By comparison, there were a total of 13 cases in 2022, said Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County.

People should stay home when they are sick before going to a holiday gathering, Public Health said.

“We are seeing cases coughing for weeks before they seek care and even then they return to school while awaiting test results,” said Dr. Becky Thomas, medical director of Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County. “It is important to stay home when sick and while awaiting test results to prevent infecting others. Individuals who test positive for pertussis need to stay home until they have completed at least five days of antibiotics.”

Vaccinations against whooping cough, particularly for young children and infants, are urged as the outbreak in Montgomery County continues to grow.

“Babies and children who have not had all recommended whooping cough vaccines are more likely to get serious complications,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information manager at Public Health.

Whooping cough usually begins with cold-like symptoms, as well as sometimes a mild cough or fever, before progressing to severe coughing fits, which can make it difficult to breathe.

“About one-third of babies younger than one year old who get whooping cough need care in the hospital,” said Suffoletto. “The younger the baby, the more likely they will need the treatment.”

Infants with whooping cough may not cough, but they may may gag and gasp instead. Infants may also experience a symptom known as “apnea,” which is a pause in a child’s breathing pattern.

The number of cases from this current outbreak are slightly higher than pre-pandemic cases. Prior to the pandemic, there were 100 cases reported in 2019 and 86 in 2018.

Last week, the Warren County Health District identified an increase in pertussis cases in the county. In 2023, there have been 15 cases in Warren County, including 14 that have been in the last month. By comparison, there was one case in 2022.

Ed Richter contributed to this story.

Who should be vaccinated?

  • Children: Infants need a series of four doses of DTaP given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and between 15-18 months of age. A fifth dose is required between ages 4 and 6 years, before starting kindergarten.
  • Adolescents: Adolescents receive a booster dose at 11-12 years of age. The state of Ohio requires seventh graders receive the Tdap booster.
  • Pregnant women: Pregnant women should get vaccinated against pertussis once during each pregnancy. This vaccine provides protection to newborn babies before they are old enough to receive vaccine themselves.
  • Adults: Any adult who has never received a dose of Tdap should get one.

To schedule an appointment to be vaccinated, contact your health care provider or call the Public Health Clinic at 937-225-4550.

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