Health department responding to outbreak of whooping cough in Lawrence

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States.

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department reported Thursday that there have been six cases of whooping cough in Lawrence during the past month.

Lisa Horn, spokeswoman, said all of the cases involve children who are younger than school age but do not attend a day care. She said some of the children are related, but not all of them. Four of the cases involve unvaccinated children.

It’s the second outbreak this year. In March, there were seven cases and six of them involved unvaccinated children.

Pertussis — more commonly called whooping cough — is a contagious, bacterial, respiratory disease spread by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others.

Horn said parents, older siblings or other caregivers, who may not know they have pertussis, can infect infants with the illness.

The symptoms of pertussis begin much like a common cold:

• Runny nose or congestion.

• Sneezing.

• Occasionally a mild cough or fever.

• Infants and children with the disease may cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound.

The health department said whooping cough may be mild in older children and adults, but in younger children, the illness can be complicated by pneumonia and occasionally brain inflammation. In rare cases — one out of 200 — pertussis can cause death, especially in children age 1 or younger.

Horn said the best protection is vaccination, and the health department has vaccine available at its clinic, 200 Maine.

If you have any questions about vaccination or if you or your child is experiencing pertussis symptoms, contact your physician or the health department at 843-0721 and ask for a communicable disease nurse.

Tagged: Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, pertussis, whooping cough


Boston_Corbett 6 years, 8 months ago

Vaccines people!

Do you want to roll the dice and be the family out of 200 who will lose a child from a preventable illness?

If there are six reported cases out there, there are a lot more unreported cases, and many infection sources, currently in the community.

walkthehawk 6 years, 8 months ago

just for the record, this statistic appears to be WAY off base. The mortality rate hospitalized patients is estimated at 1 in 500--and many, many adults (most of whom were vaccinated as children) are estimated to contract and carry whooping cough every year. See, e.g.

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I'm sure that's very comforting to the parents of those one in five hundred. FYI - the statistics you've cited were for the public at large, and the ones cited in the article were for younger children. But hey, the CDC tells us it's even worse for babies, who aren't fully vaccinated until they're six months old. It's awesome that so many adults (who can and should also be vaccinated as adults) walk around with something that could kill a young child. But hey, it's only one in one hundred babies, so no biggie, right?

Per the CDC:

"Disease Complications Pertussis is most severe for babies; more than half of infants younger than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized. About 1 in 5 infants with pertussis get pneumonia (lung infection), and about 1 in 100 will have convulsions. In rare cases (1 in 100), pertussis can be deadly, especially in infants."

mkinley 6 years, 8 months ago

I was given a pertussis vaccine in the hospital almost immediately after my baby was born last November. They said anyone who would be spending time with the newborn needed one, so her father, and both grandmothers also got the vaccine. Smart.

William McCauley 6 years, 8 months ago

How many of the those kids are from the last go around in march? The last time we all got to learn the mindset of one Ms. Maggie Beatles who professed she don;t take her kid to a real doctor, but to a alt practice that suits "her lifestyle" and lead to her kids not getting the needed medical treatments and allowing her kid for 8 weeks to contaminate both the Little Red School house & Lawrence Art Centers pre-school programs.

Talk about child abuse! These people should be charged and have their kids removed from their care.

It's no surprise to see a return of this in out community because to the actions of a few of the Lawrence nut cases with their warped views.

cihloff 6 years, 7 months ago

It is pretty easy throwing around other people's name on here "anonymous" other than your own eh?
They were misdiagnosed months before a proper diagnosis was given. Another family had it passed to them from an adult that was vaccinated to the family among whom were also vaccinated. How do you all explain this? Vaccinations are no guarantee of health and being unvaccinated is no guarantee that you will contract something and pass it on at a more rampant rate. Vaccinations offer a false sense of security and there is a plethora of info out there in relation to how vaccines actually interfere with the immune response therefore not making them suitable to be given across the board to every last community member. Whooping cough will still exist even in a fully vaccinated community.

Megan Green Stuke 6 years, 8 months ago

This is terrible. No reason a single soul should have whooping cough. Vaccines are REALLY NEAT!

thecuteone 6 years, 7 months ago

I had the vaccination and still got it and it's the same story with the girl who gave it to me. Clearly some of these children were also vaccinated. What's the point of subjecting children to a shot that rarely works?

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't go quite that far. I think they honestly believe they're doing the right thing, unlike someone who beats their child or does drugs around them.

However, I do think we should stop offering so many waivers for schools and daycares. They're far too easy to obtain. If you don't want to give your kid a vaccine, you don't need to expose them to other children, and yes, that includes kids with religious objections. If you're religious enough to avoid public safety, you can be religious enough to form your own school. Those waivers should be reserved for the truly medically vulnerable, such as kids with cancer.

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