published Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Whooping cough cases rise in Hamilton County

  • photo
    Nurse Susan Peel gives a whooping cough vaccination to a student at Inderkum High School, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in Sacramento, Calif. The whooping cough vaccine given to babies and toddlers loses much of its effectiveness after just three years _ a lot faster than doctors believed _ and that could help explain a recent series of outbreaks in the U.S. among children who were fully vaccinated, a study suggests. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Poll
Do you plan to get vaccinated against whooping cough?

Whooping cough in Hamilton County has increased this year, with 21 confirmed cases, according to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

The increase reflects a trend across the country, health department officials said today in a news release. Sixteen of the 21 cases have been in children younger than 6 years old, the release said.

According to the health department, the first symptoms of whooping cough — known as pertussis — are similar to a cold: sneezing, runny nose, possibly a low-grade fever and a cough. Although a cough can be present with other respiratory illnesses, coughs with the following characteristics may indicate pertussis:

* A severe cough that occurs in sudden, uncontrollable bursts where one cough follows the next without a break for breath;

* A high-pitched whooping sound when breathing in after a coughing episode; more common in children, less common in infants and adults;

* Vomiting during or after a coughing spell;

* The person's face or lips may look blue from lack of oxygen.

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