State health department says 381 cases of whooping cough puts disease at epidemic levels

The state Department of Public Health says whooping cough is now at epidemic levels.

Department officials told Amanda Stephenson of WTVQ-TV in Lexington that 381 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far in 2012. 
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting 50 cases so far this year. That’s double the 26 cases they’d seen in the previous five years. Estill County health officials have seen a quadrupling of cases since July. (Read more)

Mary Meehan of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Three Rivers District Health Department in Owenton, which serves Owen, Carroll, Gallatin and Pendleton counties, will offer shots at fall festivals in the district to stave off the spread of the disease.

After 86 cases were confirmed in the area, the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which serves Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, is offering vaccines for $4.

The Fayette County department isn’t planning special clinics at this time, so people who are worried about the illness should contact their family physicians. Some pharmacies, such as Walgreens, are offering the shots in their stores.

There is an adequate supply of vaccine for children and adults, said Beth Fisher, a spokesperson for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

For more information on pertussis, and its symptoms, go to the CDC website.

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