Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department Epidemiologist Kristen Baker says Pertussis, which is commonly known as the Whooping Cough, has a trend of increasing every 3 to 5 years. Baker says in 2012, there were nine confirmed or suspect cases of the disease and so far this year, she says that number has doubled. The highly contagious disease can start out as a cold or cough and is spread through close contact.
Baker explained, "Close contact is defined through the Infectious Disease Control Manual as three or more hours of two feet closeness which puts our grade school children that sit in the same classrooms, by the same people at the highest risk for contracting the disease."
While rare, Baker says the disease can be fatal in children, especially those under the age of 1.
"They should be vaccinated by the time they go into kindergarten and then they should receive an additional booster at 11 years of age. We also recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation and anybody that is going to have close contact with an infant."
That would include baby-sitters, daycare workers, parents and anyone else that is constantly around infants. You can find a list of immunization guidelines by calling the ZMCHD at 740-454-9741.