Whooping cough awareness on the rise - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Whooping cough awareness on the rise

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---It's the time of year when sickness is spreading.

Protecting yourself is key, especially from one bacterial infection in particular.

"We actually have cases of whooping cough year round," says Dr. Judy Theriot, Pediatrician at U of L Children and Youth Project.

It can last for months and is contagious. It's usually spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who breathe in the bacteria.

"That you cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough so much that you can't breathe. You can't breathe, you can't sleep, you can't eat," says Dr. Theriot.

It causes serious illness to infants, children, and adults. It can even be life-threatening to infants.

"The reason we vaccinate is if you're a young baby, like a newborn or 1-2 month old, when you get whooping cough you could die," says Dr. Theriot.

We reached out to our WDRB viewers on Facebook to see if anyone has been impacted locally.

One viewer named Whitney Wickens replied "My 8-yr old had it in August and it was one of the worst things we have dealt with. She was vaccinated, but got it anyway".

The CDC says protection from the vaccine fades over time, and this can happen, however, it's less likely to be severe if it does.

Another viewer named Brandi Kaiser says "My 10 year old son has it right now, he sounds and feels horrible".

Health officials say so far this year in Jefferson County, there have been 17 reported cases. They average 25-30 cases a year. However, last year, there were 100 reported cases for the year.

According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 2012 was a big year in the U.S. for whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

There were 48,277 known cases. That's the most reported since 1955.

There's more than 19,000 cases that have been reported so far this year, and doctors are wanting to make sure numbers aren't on the increase locally.

They say being up to date on your vaccination will help.

"And when you're older and you're going to your doctor for your tetanus, to make sure it's the tetanus that has the pertussis part in it, because there's still plain old tetanus shots out there, but that's not the one you want. You want the one with the pertussis so you can protect yourself, and your kids and your family," says Dr. Judy Theriot.

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