Whooping cough is making rounds again in Isanti County

Pertussis—more commonly known as whooping cough—is back as a distinct medical concern, with 14 cases in Isanti County since May 1, reported Public Health Director Kathy Minkler at the July 5 Isanti County Board meeting.

“The biggest concern with pertussis is to protect infants in homes that have been infected since they can have the most complications with the illness which include seizures, inflammation of the brain and even death,” warned Minkler.

She said most of the Isanti County pertussis cases have been among middle school aged children, including two that were found in swimming classes. She added that Minnesota is second to California in whooping cough cases this year. The bacterial disease spread person to person through the air goes in outbreak cycles between 7 to 10 years.

Minkler added that there has been a drop in the pertussis immunization rate this year, perhaps fueled by a fear from side effect reactions. But a new form of the Tdap vaccine was developed over the past 10 years which is showing less reactions, Minkler said.

Public Health represented at major simulation

Last month at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Tony Buttacavoli of Isanti County Public Health Emergency Management took part in a huge tornado response simulation called “Operation Gone with the Wind.” Utilizing 103 volunteer victims who acted out their roles and the concrete block mock “city” at Camp Ripley, the two-day training exercise was an extensive coordination of personnel from 22 counties and 100 agencies.

Buttacavoli was one of the 16 members of the planning committee for the exercise which included units from the Minnesota Army Reserves and Marines Reserve medical group. The objective was a full-scale response to a city of 38,000 rampaged by a tornado, with participants challenged by triage, evacuation, medical surge at multiple hospitals and fatality management.

Reservation system for county park shelters

Also at the July 5 county board meeting, Parks Director Barry Wendorf’s request to implement a picnic shelter reservation system was approved. The non-refundable rate is $50/day, and reservations must be made at least 10 days in advance for the shelters at Anderson, Becklin, Vegsund and Wayside county parks. Reservations can be made by calling the Parks office (763-689-8220), e-mailing [email protected] or stopping in at the Parks office at the Government Center.

A picnic shelter/interpretive shelter will also be constructed at Springvale Park this summer, along with a disc golf course. Tim Mackey of St. Cloud was awarded the $2,100 bid to design the disc golf course. Up to 89 percent of the project costs at Springvale Park will be reimbursed through the Parks Legacy Grant process from the state.

Next county board meeting: Wednesday, July 18, 9 a.m.