Whooping cough spreading in Michigan

Cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, are on the rise across Michigan.

Doctor Robert Graham, Medical Director for District Health Department No. 10, Mid Michigan and Central Michigan, has seen ten cases of whooping cough in just the last week. He says, in a normal year, he might see one case within his district.

Individual medical offices are seeing the same thing. At Mackinaw Trail Pediatrics, Nurse Practitioner Sharon Caverly says the number of whooping cough cases has been increasing each year.

"It's not been real common in the community," Caverly said. "It gradually got up to, you know, maybe one or so a year. This year is just, really, an outbreak."

Caverly remembers one case of whooping cough at her office, maybe a dozen years ago. So far this year, there have been at least two babies treated.

She and others point to a parent's decision to not have their child vaccinated. Some parents were concerned that some of the ingrediants of vaccinations would cause more harm than what the vaccinations were intended to prevent.

Caverly says many of those ingrediants have been removed from vaccinations.

Dr. Graham's main concern, with the start of the school year just around the corner, is keeping whooping cough out of school districts.

He wants to let parents know that if their child has early symptoms of a cold, to keep them in and not go to school. He wants school administrators to enforce no cough, no cold, no fever policies for precautionary measures. And if the cold gets worse, parents should keep the child out of school for at least a week.

The good news, he said, is that if a child does get Pertussis, it can be treatable early on.

Parents should speak with their health care providers if they have questions or concerns regarding vaccinations for their children.