Milwaukee Health Department discusses whooping cough outbreak

Milwaukee Health Department discusses whooping cough outbreak

By The WTMJ News Team. CREATED Dec 1, 2011 - UPDATED: Dec 1, 2011

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Health Department said in a news conference Thursday afternoon that the city has seen three times the number of whooping cough cases it normally sees.

"We've seen a two- to threefold increase in pertussis for the month of November," Paul Biedrzycki, the Health Department's Director of Disease Control, said in a news conference.  "We full expect to see additional confirmed cases as we head toward the holiday season."

Milwaukee health officials say they have seen 12 new cases of children with whooping cough in November.

Angela Debny knows all too well that germs live at school. So she got her first grader vaccinated for whooping cough. But news about more cases is making her think again.

"I'd be concerned. I wouldn't want my daughter to get it," said Debny.

"This disease is bacterial disease that attacks the upper respiratory tract and can cuase severe spasmodic cough," Biedrzycki explained.  "It can be especially severe for infants or toddlers, and the spread of this disease is primarily through adults who have recurrent unresolved coughs who transmit it to children."

The Health Department is urging parents to make sure their children's immunization against pertussis is up-to-date.

Mequon, Racine, Menomonee Falls and Jefferson are also reporting confirmed whooping cough cases.

TODAY'S TMJ4 wanted to find out which MPS schools had cases of whooping cough. But, the district decline to comment.