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Health department: More cases of whooping cough confirmed in Lexington outbreak

Lexington Herald-Leader - 6/4/2024

Caregivers in Central Kentucky should be alert for the symptoms of pertussis, as an outbreak in Lexington continues to spread, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said Tuesday.

The number of confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, has increased by seven over the past week, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Lexington to 21 since April 26, according to the health department.

Before schools closed for the summer, cases of whooping cough were confirmed at Bryan Station, Henry Clay, Lafayette, Lexington Catholic and Paul Laurence Dunbar high schools, as well as Saints Peter and Paul School and Lexington Christian Academy.

Because immunity in vaccinated people tends to wane over time, the health department said it’s important for adults and older children to get boosters.

The highly contagious illness spreads through coughing and sneezing. Babies, people with asthma and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk for severe illness, according to the CDC.

Early symptoms of whooping cough are similar to a cold — a runny or stuffy nose, low-grade fever and mild cough. A week or two later, the cough becomes much more severe, resulting in violent fits of coughing that can cause vomiting, fatigue, difficulty breathing and even fractured ribs, the CDC says.

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