State reports dramatic drop in number of cases reported
MILWAUKEE, Wis., June 27, 2013 – According to the most recent Pertussis Report from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, pertussis cases declined a dramatic 88 percent from last year. From January 1 through June 2, 2013, 388 cases of pertussis where reported among Wisconsin residents. During the same time period in 2012, 3,270 cases were reported, making Wisconsin the state with the highest rate of pertussis in the US at the time.
Pertussis or whooping cough is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease, especially in infants too young to be vaccinated. “Studies show that up to 80 percent of all babies with the condition are infected by parents or caregivers,” said Jodi Legge, State Director of the March of Dimes in Wisconsin. “These numbers show that this disease can be prevented and we’re excited to play the role we do in educating the public about how they can prevent this disease.”
“The key to preventing this disease continues to be vaccinations. While this is certainly a victory for the March of Dimes in Wisconsin our work is far from over,” said March of Dimes Wisconsin Advocacy and Government Affairs Director Maureen Kartheiser. “We’re working hard to change the state law in Wisconsin to increase access to information about the Pertussis vaccine. We hope to make it more convenient for parents and caregivers of NICU babies to receive the vaccine before the baby leaves the hospital.”
A proposal drafted by the state legislative reference bureau, LRB 1868/1 Protects Wisconsin Babies, helps to address those concerns. “Now that the state budget is close to being signed, we hope the legislature is able to focus on important items like these to safeguard our children,” said Kartheiser.
For more information on the work the March of Dimes is doing to fight pertussis please visit the national campaign site at
About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one of them through research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. In Wisconsin, one in nine babies is born prematurely. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.