Two cases of whooping cough in Butler County

FAIRFIELD, Ohio - Two cases of Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, have been confirmed in the Lakota School District in Butler County.

The Butler County Health Department sent out two letters to parents telling them a student at Lakota West High School and another at Endeavor Elementary School both have the disease.

Pertussis is very contagious and is typically spread by coughing or sneezing.

Here are some tips to keep your child healthy:

Make sure your child is up-to-date on their vaccinations against whooping cough, or Pertussis. There are five doses, with the first shot at age 2 months and the last between 4 and 6 years. A booster shot is recommended around 11 or 12. It's part of routine childhood shots that also protect against diphtheria and tetanus.

Adults who are around kids should get a whooping cough booster shot so that they don't spread it to young children, who are the most vulnerable to whooping cough. Nine young children have died so far this year. The booster for teens and adults, approved in 2005, was combined with the tetanus booster that adults are supposed to get every 10 years or so.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and its ability to fend off infections wanes as years pass. But even diminished vaccine protection is better than nothing, and usually people who are vaccinated have milder cases. In this current epidemic, experts are investigating whether the childhood shots and the booster offer less lasting protection than previously thought.

The illness typically starts with cold-like symptoms that can include a runny nose, congestion, low-grade fever and a mild cough. Infants may have a pause in breathing, called apnea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises parents to see a doctor if they or their children develop prolonged or severe coughing fits, vomiting and exhaustion.

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