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Lexington whooping cough outbreak has more cases than in the past five years combined

Lexington Herald-Leader - 6/11/2024

The number of cases of whooping cough in Lexington in the past six weeks has surpassed the total number of cases in the previous five years combined.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said Tuesday the number of cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, has risen by six in the past week, for a total of 27 confirmed cases since April 26.

Before this outbreak, the city had just 16 cases of whooping cough in the previous five-year period, the health department said in a post on the social media platform X.

Because immunity in vaccinated people tends to wane over time, the health department reiterated the importance of boosters for adults and older children.

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.

Whooping cough cases jump to 24 in Lexington. How to spot symptoms for the disease

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