There has been a spike in whooping cough cases this year across the country and state, and Douglas County has been no exception.
There have been 10 confirmed cases this year, according to the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, which surpasses last year’s total of nine. All of the 2012 cases have been reported since June.
On Tuesday, the health department was investigating a probable case of whooping cough in a Quail Run School fifth-grade student, and it notified families of students who have been in close contact with the child and may be most susceptible to infection.
Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a contagious, bacterial respiratory disease spread by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others. Symptoms include runny nose or congestion, sneezing, cough and fever.
In rare cases, the disease can cause death, especially in children who are 1 or younger.
The health department encourages adults and children to get vaccinated because it is the best protection against the illness. The vaccine is available at the health department’s clinic, 200 Maine.
If you have any questions about vaccination or if you or your child is experiencing pertussis symptoms, contact your physician or the local health department at 843-0721 and ask for a communicable disease nurse.