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Disease Surveillance & Control

Current Communicable Disease Information


Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Last Updated 1/22/2013 - The City of Milwaukee Health Department continues to see elevated levels of this dis.  Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a bacterial disease that can cause severe coughing fits, and can be deadly to infants.  Because of the increase in Pertussis cases this fall in Wisconsin, the health department urges parents to review their child's shot records to ensure that all of their children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.  Information for parents and healthcare providers can be found using the links below.

For Parents:

For Healthcare Providers:

Bacterial Meningitis (Meningococcal Disease)

Meningitis occurs when the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges become inflamed due to an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.  Meningitis has many causes, usually bacteria or viruses, but meningitis can also be caused by physical injury, cancer or certain drugs.  The most severe type of bacterial meningitis is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis and can cause a life-threatening illness called meningococcal disease. 

Symptoms of meningococcal disease include high fever, headache, and stiff neck, which are common symptoms of most types of meningitis. These symptoms can develop over several hours. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness.  Some infections can also occur or spread to the blood, causing severe disease and death.  The time period between the start of the symptoms and death can be as little as 24-48 hours.  Early treatment with antibiotics is critical. 

Meningococcal disease is spread by close personal contact like kissing, or sharing anything that you put into the mouth (cups, bottles, cigarettes). Family members may also be at increased risk. But without this kind of contact, you face no special risk of getting this illness.  Anyone who knows they had close personal contact with someone with meningococcal disease call their doctor or health care provider as soon as possible so that they can be prescribed antibiotics to prevent disease.  The risk of getting this illness is generally very low, even for people who have had close personal contact with an ill individual.  

A vaccine is available that can prevent 4 of the 5 most common types of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria that cause meningoccocal disease.  Anyone living in a closed community setting (such as college students living in dormitories, military personnel) should receive the meningococcal vaccine.  Routine vaccination of children as early as age 11 is now recommended by the CDC.  A booster dose is now needed five years after the intial dose.  It is not known how long immunity lasts from the vaccination.

For more information, please click on the following links:

Staphylococcus: Methycillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

Click on the links to read the corresponding documents:

Antibiotic Resistance (Wisconsin Antibiotic Resistance Network or "WARN")

It's really important to take all medications, including antibiotics, exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to.

Communicable Disease and Food

Communicable Disease and Water

Other Resources

Other MHD Communicable Disease Web pages

Communicable Disease Index (A-Z List)


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