Whooping Cough Cases Increasing - WSET.com - ABC13

Whooping Cough Cases Increasing

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Lynchburg, VA - More and more cases of whooping cough are turning up in the Lynchburg area.

Just Monday morning, a local school put up a sign warning that a parent of a child that attends came down with the illness.

The Lynchburg Health Department says they have seen an outbreak of Pertussis, or whooping cough, since November.

There are cases in every age group from infants to the elderly, but officials say more often than not it's adults that spread the disease.

"We've had more cases than expected in this area," said District Epidemiologist Haley Phillips Evans.

Health experts say it's not necessarily kids that spread the disease.

"Half of the kids that get whooping cough an adult brings them the illness," said Dr. Thomas Eppes.

Doctors say Pertussis vaccinations wane over time. Right now, babies are given a series of shots at two, four, and six months old, then another at a year old. Children are given another when they enter kindergarten and again in sixth grade.

Pregnant women and those around babies are encouraged to get vaccinated as well.

"Anyone that will be around a newborn infant or providing care we encourage them to vaccinated to help protect that infant from the seriousness of pertussis," Evans said.

Evans says the vaccine lasts only five to ten years. That means most students finishing college are likely no longer protected.

"Anyone with a persistent cough I would encourage them to see their primary care physician," Evans continued.

Whooping cough is highly dangerous.

"Little people less than two years of age, it's a killer," Dr. Eppes said.

The main thing you can do to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated.

"Part of the way to avoid little people of getting sick is to have adults immunized," Dr. Eppes said.

Doctors recommend you get a tetanus booster every ten years and they now include a component of the pertussis vaccination.

Dr. Eppes says that since the disease is not as bad for adults; they often don't even know they have it. He urges everyone to talk to their doctor about the disease.

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