Public Health Alert: Pertussis Outbreak, Columbus/Franklin County

A PUBLIC HEALTH ALERTFor Friday, October 22, 2010
Columbus / Franklin County
Dear Provider:

Columbus Public Health (CPH) and Franklin County Board of Health (FCBH) continue to address a significant outbreak of pertussis. In September 2010, there were 105 cases, the second highest month since January 2005.

In 2010, 609 cases have been reported to FCBH and CPH, 33% of these cases were reported in August and September. As of October 16, there were already 87 cases of pertussis reported for the month of October. As of now, we are on a trajectory to have more cases reported in October than in August and September which were record breakers.

The case rate for Infants < 6 months of age was 3.0 times higher for Hispanic infants than for White infants and 1.3 times higher for African American  infants than for White infants.

We urge healthcare providers to be on alert for pertussis among patients of all ages, especially infants within the first year of life, as well as parents, caregivers and siblings of infants.  In addition, we also urge all healthcare providers to vaccinate their patients against pertussis if they have not previously received Tdap.

We need your help to control pertussis in our community. You can help by following the Four Ts:

  • Think Pertussis: consider the diagnosis in your patients.
  • Test for Pertussis: delays in recognition may contribute to adverse outcomes.
  • Treat Pertussis: treat suspected and confirmed cases promptly with azithromycin.
  • Reduce Transmission: use every patient encounter to vaccinate against pertussis with Tdap or DTaP and report cases promptly. If you do not offer these vaccines, please refer to a vaccine provider (see local list).

Please contact a Communicable Disease Nurse at 614 645-1474 Option 2 or 614 462-3160 for assistance. Information about pertussis for healthcare providers is available on the web at:

Thank you for continuing to work with us to keep the public safe and health

Teresa C. Long, MD, MPHHealth Commissioner

Columbus Public Health

Susan Tilgner, MS, LD, RD, RS

Health Commissioner

Franklin County Board of Health

This message is brought to you through a partnership of Columbus Public Health, Franklin County Board of Health.