Cases of whooping cough (pertussis) increase in Kentucky

By Sarah Ladd
Kentucky Lantern

Kentucky is seeing an uptick in cases of pertussis, more commonly called whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory illness.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services said in a Friday newsletter: “Recent cases have occurred primarily in Central Kentucky but cases are being seen throughout the commonwealth.”

Whooping cough can be a life-threatening illness and is most dangerous for babies, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can, however, affect people of any age.

Whooping cough is highly contagious, according to the CDC. Vaccines are available to children as young as 2 months old and can help prevent it.

Early symptom onset to recovery can take around 12 weeks, according to the state Department for Public Health, which says symptoms of whooping cough include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Uncontrollable coughing
  • Vomiting from coughing
  • Fever below 100.4 Fahrenheit
  • Apnea (life-threatening pauses in breathing) and cyanosis (turning blue or purple) in infants and young children
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