Whooping Cough Cases Up In Kansas

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There have been staggering number of whooping cough cases in Kansas this year, more than 600 reports have already been made. Last year, there were just over 50 cases confirmed.

With eight kids, Mike and Flo Harvey say their house can get pretty loud.

"It's crazy but I don't think we'd have it any other way,” Mike Harvey said.

A few months ago, it was louder than usual when half of them came down with whooping cough.

“That whooping part, they would get to coughing so much like they couldn't breathe and so it is very scary,” Flo Harvey said.

The Harveys are five of 39 confirmed cases in Sedgwick county this year. That's up from just four last year. Statewide, there have been 609 cases reported this year. In 201, Kansas only had 52 confirmed cases.

The Kansas Department of Health say they don't really know why whooping cough cases are up so much this year, but say it's not the first time they've seen a dramatic rise in numbers. For whatever reason, they say every five years or so the number of cases will spike and then drop off again.

“Anytime that we're made aware that there's more cases in a community we're more aware and we're looking for that and we're more likely to go ahead and test for that,” Dr. Kevin Hoppock said.

Dr. Hoppock says there are two ways to prevent whooping cough. Wash your hands and make sure you and your children are immunized.

“The pertussis vaccine is actually given at two, four, and six months to the children and then a booster occurs every five years after their primary series,” Dr. Hoppock said.

There have been about 80 suspected cases of whooping cough in Sedgwick county this year but only 39 have been confirmed.

According to the Sedgwick County Health Department, a confirmed case has to have positive lab results and at least two weeks of coughing.

Recently, there was one confirmed case at a local day care and there have been six confirmed cases in four Wichita public schools.

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