Whooping Cough Cases Rise in North Texas

Doctors urge anyone who is around children to get vaccinated

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Whooping cough cases continue to rise in North Texas, and Dallas County is alerting parents to make sure their children are vaccinated. (Published Monday, Nov 25, 2013)

    Whooping cough cases continue to rise in North Texas, and Dallas County is alerting parents to make sure their children are vaccinated.

    Dallas County is seeing a spike of cases of pertussis, or whooping cough. As of this month, there have been 329 cases, the highest number in the county since a 2004 outbreak.

    State health officials in September said that Texas is on track to have more pertussis cases than any year since the 1950s.

    Doctors don’t have an explanation for the spike in cases in Dallas County, saying that it means the disease is just cycling around the community.

    Children’s Medical Center of Dallas said many of the cases are in children younger than 1. Many times, the disease is passed along by adults with a chronic cough they do not know is whooping cough.

    "The vast majority of the cases we see here at Children’s of young children who have pertussis are because they’ve been in contact with someone who has been coughing and that person who was coughing probably has pertussis and they don’t even know it," Dr. Jeffrey Kahn said.

    Doctors said parents and adults who are around children should make sure they are vaccinated.

    Tarrant County experienced a spike in cases earlier in the fall. In the beginning of September, it had more cases than anywhere else in the state, but the number of cases has begun to decrease at Cook Children's Medical Center. The hospital said it has seen only about five cases in the last few weeks.

    Pertussis is very contagious and most severe for babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacterial infection starts like the common cold, but severe coughing begins after one to two weeks.