MILWAUKEE -- The city of Milwaukee now has upwards of 100 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis.
As of Friday, April 27th, five schools have been affected by the illness, including two MPS schools. The Milwaukee Health Department is predicting the number of cases will continue to grow.
Golda Meir and Tippecanoe schools sent out a letter to parents earlier this week, warning them their child may have been exposed to whooping cough in their classroom.
“The letters that the Milwaukee Health Department asked us to send out were really only to one classroom in each of the schools. It was the immediate classmates of the child who was made ill,” Roseann St. Aubin with Milwaukee Public Schools said.
Parents at both schools were told to watch for symptoms in their kids, such as coughing, runny nose and low grade fever. Parents were also asked to make sure their child is up to date on vaccinations, particularly the TDAP booster for kids between ages 11 and 12.
St. Mathias School has the most cases of whooping cough so far, with 31 cases. The Milwaukee Health Department says two private high schools have also been affected.
“Certainly pertussis is circulating in the community. The highest for risk are young infants and toddlers that get exposed by their older siblings or caregivers,” Paul Biedrzycki with the Milwaukee Health Department said.
Biedrzycki says most cases involve kids between eight and 14 years old. So far, 100 cases are reported in the city of Milwaukee. By comparison, Milwaukee recorded just 59 cases of whooping cough in all of 2011.
So far, one death from whooping cough has been reported in Wisconsin -- an infant less than one month old. That death was not in Milwaukee.
“As the disease spreads, I fully expect to receive reports of infants or toddlers that are hospitalized,” Biedrzycki said.
The incubation period for the disease is nine to 10 days. It’s transmitted through the air, usually by coughing or sneezing. Most kids will only see mild symptoms.
CLICK HERE for more information on pertussis (whooping cough) via the city of Milwaukee Health Department’s website.