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Whooping cough on the rise in Northern Kentucky

Posted at 10:15 AM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 10:17:49-05

FLORENCE, Ky. — Cases of whooping cough in Northern Kentucky are on the rise, according to health officials.

The majority of cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, have been seen in school-aged kids. There were 14 confirmed cases in Northern Kentucky in 2019.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of whooping cough, according to Lynne Saddler, district director of health for the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

“Vaccination can not only protect you, but also those around you that may be vulnerable to illness, particularly infants who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated,” Saddler said.

At first, whooping cough can appear to be a common cold, with symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, low fever and a mild cough. A persistent cough will develop within a couple weeks. The coughs will happen in bursts and will sometimes end in a high-pitched “whoop” or vomiting. The illness can last four to six weeks.

Whooping cough is most concerning for infants under age 1, who are at increased risk of severe illness and even death.

Parents of young children should make sure their child has been vaccinated with DTaP, which includes protection against tetanus and diphtheria as well, health officials said. It is usually given in five doses between two months and seven years of age. Pregnant women and anyone who is going to be around infants should get vaccinated.

You should call your doctor if you have a cough that lasts more than two weeks or if your cough gets progressively worse.

The Health Department offers vaccines by appointment at its four county health centers.