Whooping cough cases on the rise in Sedgwick County

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email

Pertussis In Sedgwick County

  • November 2013: Of the 29 reported cases of pertussis, 14 are probable & confirmed, 15 are still under investigation  
  • So far in 2013: 94 total case investigations, 70 total probable & confirmed cases
  • In 2012: 115 total case investigations, 86 total probable & confirmed cases

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WICHITA, Kan.-- The Sedgwick County Health Department is seeing an increase this month in the number of reported cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

So far this month, the health department has received 27 reported cases of pertussis. That's already more than any single month in the last five years.

"this is an unusual spike for us," said Claudia Blackburn, Sedgwick County Health director. "We want people to be sure they're vaccinated."

The disease is highly contagious and resides in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected person. Sneezing or coughing sprays droplets in the air, which can enter others' noses and throats when they breath.

After a week or two, pertussis causes violent and rapid coughing, sometimes resulting in a "whooping" sound when a lack of air in the lungs causes a person to inhale while coughing.

Wichita Schools report that there have been eight suspected cases of whooping cough but only two were confirmed. Two additional confirmations were received from doctor's offices, which have brought the total to four confirmed cases of whooping cough since the beginning of the school year. Officials said the number of cases is "not out of the ordinary."

Pertussis is vaccine-prevantable, and vaccinations are available from the Sedgwick County Heath Department. Call (316) 660-7300 for more information.

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