Elk City Infant Shows Signs Of Pertussis; Parents Warn Of Disease

Monday, July 30th 2012, 7:34 pm
By: News 9

Doctors in Oklahoma confirm we are seeing more cases of pertussis here in our state and nationwide.

There have been 34 reported cases of pertussis in Oklahoma. Doctors are seeing an increased number of cases here in Oklahoma and nationwide, but are not calling it an epidemic.

One infant has already died of the disease, and another is currently being treated after showing signs of the disease.

Both of these parents are from Elk City and both of them rushed their baby boys to children's hospital to get treated. On Monday, they spoke at news conference here in order to raise awareness about the deadly disease.

It was a tearful reunion between the Smiths and the Galmores. The Smiths lost their infant son Aiden to pertussis earlier this month.

7/16/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma City Infant Dies Of Whooping Cough

The Galmores' son Cullen is in the hospital being treated for it now after he too showed signs of the disease. Both mothers say it all started with a little cough.

Baby Cullen Galmore is five weeks old and is only showing symptoms of pertussis. He is being treated at Children's hospital with antibiotics, fluids and oxygen.

Dr. Aurelia Ballan is the Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Children's Hospital and says people need to be vaccinated, especially those around young children. But she says not everyone is getting the vaccine, and that may be why we are seeing the sudden spike in pertussis. She recommends kids by the age of six should have at least five doses, and that adults should get the shot at least every other year.

Both families say they got the vaccine for themselves, but their young infant sons somehow contracted the disease anyway. And because they were so young, had not started their vaccines yet.

Dr. Ballan says the 3 stages of pertussis are:

  • starts as a common cold-mild cough, runny nose
  • turns into a pronounced cough that could take weeks or months to recover from
  • turns into a chronic long lasting cough

Both Aiden's and Cullen's mother says it started as a little cough and they could tell something wasn't quite right. Both the parents and the doctors say early detection and vaccinations are key.

The Smiths and the Galmores have started up a Facebook page called "50 for Aiden," and "One is Enough" to raise awareness about what happened to their sons, and they are encouraging others to get educated and to get vaccinated.

Now both families, along with thousands of others, are praying for baby Cullen.

For more information, contact the Oklahoma Department of Health at (405)-271-5601.