KCK health officials seeing concerning increase in whooping cough cases

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Wyandotte County health officials are warning of an alarming uptick in whooping cough cases in KCK.

The Unified Government’s Public Health Department said it sees 15-20 cases in most years. But this year the department has seen much more, particularly in the past couple of months.

Also known as pertussis, the bacterial infection is highly contagious that can be spread by coughing and sneezing.

It starts out with cold-like symptoms like a runny nose, a mild cough and a low-grade fever. But after a week or two, heavy coughing develops. People often make a loud “whooping” sound during coughing fits, which is how the sickness got its name.

“If you are showing symptoms of pertussis, where you’re having a cough that’s lasting 2 or 3 weeks, it’s not getting any better, or you notice that you or your child is coughing so severely that it’s keeping them up at night, or having coughing fits where they can’t catch their breath, they’re vomiting, that kind of thing, those are all things that could indicate that it may be pertussis,” said Elizabeth Groenweghe with UG’s Public Health Department.

Anyone can get whooping cough, but it’s particularly dangerous for infants, small children and people with weak immune systems.

If you or your children experience any of these symptoms, see a health care provider for treatment.

Pertussis can be prevented with vaccines given to infants and boosters given to teens. The health department also recommends pregnant women receive a booster during each pregnancy to protect newborns.

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