Allegheny County Health Department reports increase in whooping cough in school-aged children

Allegheny County Health Department reports increase in whooping cough in school-aged children
Allegheny County Health Department reports increase in whooping cough in school-aged children

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department sent out an alert on its social media pages Friday saying they have seen an increase in whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in school-aged children across the county.


The county health department warned that whooping cough can be dangerous for infants, people with weakened immune systems and children who have not received all recommended vaccinations.

Symptoms can lead to serious complications, including apnea, pneumonia, seizures, or encephalopathy, a brain disease.

It could also result in the need for intensive care in hospital.

Whooping cough on the rise across the country

According to the CDC, 4,864 cases have been reported this year, three times the number reported at this time last year.

CDC data also shows that as of May 25, there have been 601 reported cases of whooping cough in Pennsylvania this year. That’s a 456 percent increase from the 108 cases reported during the same period last year.

While most patients recover from whooping cough, one doctor told KDKA it can become serious for some people if left untreated.

“It can be serious and potentially life-threatening, especially for very young children, infants just a few months old, who are especially vulnerable, and for older people, 65 years or older, or those with lung disease, such as COPD or moderate to severe asthma,” said Graham Snyder, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology at UPMC. “In these cases, this severe cough can be more than just a bad cough — it can cause people to have low oxygen levels and become very ill.”

The Allegheny County Health Department encourages parents to make sure their children are vaccinated and they provide the vaccines.

You can find more information on their website at this link.

Patrick wet

Patrick Damp is a web producer for CBS Pittsburgh. Originally from Pittsburgh and raised watching KDKA-TV, Patrick studied journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After half a decade in sports communications, Patrick decided to pursue his dream of working in journalism in his hometown and joined the CBS Pittsburgh team in 2019.

 
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