Whooping cough on the rise in Kentucky and nationwide

A resurgence of whooping cough in Kentucky and the nation has officials urging the public to get vaccinated. The state has already had 171 reported cases this year, making it “on track to beat our record from just two years ago,” said Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, state epidemiologist with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced recently there have been 18,000 cases nationwide so far in 2012, double the number of confirmed cases at the same time last year. “At that pace, the number for the entire year will be the highest since 1959, when 40,000 illnesses were reported,” Mary Meehan reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Washington and Oregon have been hit hardest. In Kentucky, Madison County has 24 cases. Estill County has 20, while the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which serves Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, has reported 61 cases. In Lexington, there have been 15.

Whooping cough is spread by respiratory droplets transmitted person to person through close contact. It is sometimes characterized by a cough that ends with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next intake of breath. Immunization against the disease is required for school-age children, but many adults may not have gotten the vaccine or might need to get a booster shot. Officials urge them to do so. (Read more)

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