Several cases of whooping cough confirmed at Minnesota schools

Publish date:
Updated on

Several cases of whooping cough have been reported at a couple of Minnesota schools in recent weeks.

The Duluth News Tribune reports cases of the highly-contagious illness, also known as pertussis, have been confirmed this week at Duluth Edison's North Star Academy, affecting students in grades 6-8.

Linda Van Etta, infectious disease specialist at St. Luke's Hospital, told the newspaper the state is seeing a "comeback" of the disease, saying that children in junior high and adults should consider getting a booster vaccination.

This is because the one given at six months old loses its effectiveness over time, which could be a reason for the current outbreak.

Students in the Rochester area have been affected too, with ABC 6 reporting several cases have been confirmed at Lourdes High School in the past few weeks, with those infected told to limit their contact with others.

The Olmsted County Health Department told the TV station that pertussis is a disease that tends to "rear its ugly head every 2-3 years" in Minnesota.

Minnesota health statistics show there have been fewer cases this year than last year. As of Dec. 2 there were 579 confirmed in the state so far this year, compared to 949 in 2014.

The Mayo Clinic says pertussis is marked by a "severe hacking cough" followed by a "high-pitched intake of breath" which is what gives it the "whooping name."

Previously a childhood disease, it now mainly occurs in teenagers and adults who immunizations have faded. Symptoms start mild, with nasal congestion, fever and a regular cough, before worsening as thick mucus accumulates in airways, causing vomiting, extreme fatigue and the hacking cough.

Next Up


189 more cases of whooping cough confirmed in state

The Minnesota Department of Health says 189 new cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough -- have been confirmed in the state in the last week. That brings the total to more than 3,500 cases in the state this year.

Whooping Cough jumps in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of several states dealing with a severe outbreak of the disease. Some 400 new cases have popped up in Minnesota this month. The people contracting the disease most often are older elementary school kids and middle schoolers.

State confirms 400 whooping cough cases in past month

Minnesota's number of whooping cough cases continues to grow. The state confirmed about 400 new cases of whooping cough in the past month, raising the total in Minnesota to nearly 2,400 infections this year. The number of confirmed cases is the highest since vaccines were introduced in the 1950s.

Whooping cough outbreak closes school east of Duluth

A Wisconsin school has called off classes after a third of its students contracted the highly contagious bacteria. The building will be sanitized. The Duluth News Tribune says staff and faculty have been largely unaffected. A health official in the area says some of the teens in the school district who got the infection never received a recommended booster shot.

Wisconsin has nation's highest rate of whooping cough cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Wisconsin leads the country in what could be the worst outbreak of whooping cough in more than five decades, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Through July 5, Wisconsin had nearly 51 cases per 100,000 people -- nearly 10 times the national average.