Whooping cough cases up in Jefferson County

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Health officials say whooping cough cases have increased in Louisville.

This is according to a news release from the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Officials say in 2018, there were 62 cases of the illness in Louisville, and 16 of those cases happened during the last two months of the year. That's an increase from the 27 cases reported in Louisville during all of 2017.

Dr. Lori Caloia, medical director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, said in a release, "We recommend that physicians test for whooping cough in patients who have a cough that persists for two weeks or more. We also urge that patients of infants and young children, as well as brothers, sisters, grandparents and those who provide care be immunized against whooping cough."

Whooping cough, also referred to as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It initially resembles an ordinary cold, but can become more serious, particularly in infants and young children.

Health officials say in infants, the cough can be minimal or non-existent. Infants may also suffer from apnea, which is a pause in their breathing pattern. In some instances, a child may turn blue. About half of infants under the age of one who contract whooping cough will need hospital care.

Officials say the best method for preventing whooping cough is a vaccination called DTaP. There is also a whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults called Tdap. Both vaccines guard against whooping cough, tetanus and diptheria.

According to the Department of Public Health and Wellness, infants should get a series of DTaP immunizations at the ages of two, four and six months, with boosters at ages 15-18 months and at 4-6 years old. Children should also get a single dose of the Tdap vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12 years old.

Pregnant women should get a single dose of the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy, preferably at the stage of the 27 through 36th week of pregnancy.

Parents are encouraged to check with their doctors to find out if their child has been immunized against whooping cough.

Parents who do not have health insurance can contact the Department of Public Health and Wellness at 574-6520.

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