By Michael Howell
After hitting the top of list for the most confirmed cases of whooping cough (aka pertussis) of any county in the state, Public Health Nurse Judy Griffin is cautiously optimistic that the worst may now be behind us. As of Monday, the county had logged 53 confirmed cases; however, only one new case was confirmed in the last two weeks.
At least 18 counties in the state have reported confirmed cases totaling over 200. Flathead County was also hard hit and has now logged 53 confirmed, matching Ravalli County. Twelve cases were confirmed in Missoula County and seven in Lake County.
Griffin said a few weeks ago that a lot of people had been creating a herd resistance to the infection. With only one case confirmed in the last few weeks she is hopeful that the infection is winding down.
She cautioned people to be careful and to seek medical attention if they show signs of the disease which may begin like a common cold but worsens and develops a persistent cough. Whooping cough can be deadly. Although no one has died in the recent outbreak in Montana, several people have been hospitalized.
Montana has seen high numbers of whooping cough before. In 2005 about 600 cases were documented in the state.