Whooping Cough on the Rise in Michigan

Rise in Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

The Michigan Department of Community Health has reported an increase in cases of Pertussis. This is a bacterial respiratory infection that can be found in all ages of people including babies and children.

The Health Center staff has provided the following information about Pertussis:

What You Need To Know

Pertussis is a bacterial disease involving the respiratory tract. It is caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis.


The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing and maybe mild cough or fever. But after 1-2 weeks, severe coughing begins. The cough may become sudden and violent. Pertussis in young adults varies in severity from a mild, atypical respiratory illness to the full blown syndrome.

How Pertussis Spreads

People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria.

Preventing Pertussis

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. In the U.S., the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. Vaccine protection for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis can fade with time. Before 2005, the only booster for adolescents and adults contained tetanus and diphtheria (called Td) and was recommended for adolescents and adults every 10 years. Today there are boosters for adolescents and adults that contain tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). The easiest thing for adults to do is to get Tdap instead of their next regular tetanus booster- that Td shot that they are supposed to get every 10 years. The dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the 10 year mark.

Please visit www.cdc.gov or www.michigan.gov/mdch.

If you have any questions regarding Pertussis, you may contact your private health care provider or call Birkam Health Center at (231)591-2614.