by Andrew Martin
The bacterial disease pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough, is continuing to be a problem around Lamoille County and the state. In the December 18 issue of the News & Citizen we reported that there had been 16 reported cases of whooping cough in Lamoille County in 2012. However, the Vermont Department of Health recently released new statistics that show an even higher occurrence of the disease in the county.
According to the newest statistics from the Department of Health there were 20 cases of whooping cough that were confirmed in Lamoille County between November 4 and December 15 alone. These 20 new cases in the last six weeks bring the total in Lamoille County for the entire year to 43. The recent upswing in confirmed cases locally has been mirrored across the state, with Addison, Caledonia, Orleans, and Rutland Counties also seeing a sharp spike in confirmed cases over that same six week time period.
The increase in confirmed cases of whooping cough in the state over the last month and a half brings the total number of 2012 cases to 568, which is nearly 500 more than the 71 cases that were confirmed in 2011. Last year saw an increase in cases of its own, since the 71 confirmed cases in 2011 nearly quadrupled the 18 that were confirmed in 2010.
According to the Vermont Department of Health during 2012 the age group with the highest amount of confirmed cases of whooping cough is children between 10 and 14 years of age, many of whom have been vaccinated at one time or another. Additionally, a confirmed 24 infants under the age of one have come down with pertussis, a number that is even more alarming considering that most infants who catch the disease have to be hospitalized.
While the day for free vaccinations for whooping cough has passed, anyone wishing to receive the vaccine can still do so by contacting their local healthcare provider. If the trend of infection should continue, next year could be increasingly serious.