Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection that causes intense and persistent coughing fits. Just last month in Jackson County a 4-week-old baby died from the disease, and one more case has now been confirmed for a total of three. It may not seem like a huge number, but that's the entire amount of last year's cases. And according to the Jackson County Health Department, the numbers have gone up from recent years. In both 2003 and 2004, there was only one case of whooping cough in the county for each year.
Dr. D. Brown of the Foote Health Systems says adults have an advantage over children when it comes to battling the illness. She also says immunizations are the biggest defense, but not all parents have gotten their child immunized. Still she hopes they will change their minds.
"Some parents think it will cause more harm than good, but as we can see childhood diseases can be dangerous. Adults have big lungs, but children have tiny lungs. And that's not much to fight things with. Whooping cough can make it difficult for children to breathe and that is dangerous."
The most common way to avoid whooping cough is through a D.P.A.T. immunization. But the spread of the disease is easy to prevent by good hand washing. If you think you've been exposed, Dr. Brown recommends seeing your physician for a booster shot or antibiotics.