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Dunn County: whooping cough and tick diseases reach new heights in 2012

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  According to the Dunn County Public Health Department’s annual report for 2012, cases of pertussis (whooping cough) and tick-borne diseases increased substantially over the previous year.

Wendy McDougall, director of public health, presented the annual report to the Dunn County Board June 19.

In 2012, reported cases of pertussis in Dunn County increased by 35 times.

Pertussis is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection caused by a bacteria.

In 2010 and 2011, there were six cases of pertussis reported each year.

Last year, there were 212 cases of pertussis reported.

In 2012, 31 cases of ehrlichiosis (a tick-borne disease) were reported, compared to 21 in 2011 and 11 in 2010.

In 2012, 150 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Dunn County, compared to 109 in 2011 and 139 in 2010.

Hepatitis C doubled over the last few years as well, going from eight reported cases in 2010, to 14 cases in 2011, and 16 cases in 2012.

There were zero reported cases of Hepatitis A in 2010, 2011 or 2012.

There were seven cases of Hepatitis B in 2010, three cases in 2011, and four cases in 2012.

Dunn County reported zero cases of tuberculosis in 2010, 2011 or 2012.


In 2012, 69 percent of children in Dunn County under the age of two were up to date on their vaccinations, which compared to 62 percent the year before.

Immunizations for children are important because they prevent certain diseases, although many parents today have not had any experience with those diseases and think they are not a threat to their children, McDougall said.

McDougall also encouraged all of the Dunn County Board members to get flu shots.

In 2012, the Dunn County Health Department administered 646 flu shots to adults (759 in 2011) and 499 flu shots to children (323 in 2011).

It is especially important for healthy adults to get flu shots because of the vulnerable individuals around them, such as the elderly or children, McDougall said.

If healthy adults can avoid influenza, that helps protect others they come in contact with, she said.


Dunn County has more people living below the federal poverty level than the state of Wisconsin as a whole, according to health department’s annual report.

The federal poverty level for a family of four is $23,050 per year (a little more than $11 per hour for an individual working 40 hours per week).

In Dunn County, 15 percent of the population lived in poverty, compared to 13 percent statewide.

In 2011, 15.3 percent of Dunn County residents lived in poverty, compared to 11.6 percent statewide.

The median income in Dunn County for 2012 was $45,878, compared to $50,401 statewide.

In 2011, the median household income was $48,376, compared to $51,598 statewide.

“Median” household income means that half of the households are above that level and half are below.

In Dunn County, 19 percent of the children were living in poverty in 2012, according to the report.


The Dunn County Health Department is funded by a local tax levy, grants (including state aid) and program-generated revenue.

In 2012, the county tax levy for the health department was $546,276.

Grants and state aid totaled $320,330.

The health department also received $420,117 in program-generated revenue.