The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District is on high alert after receiving notification of 13 cases of Pertussis in children around the community since January of this year. It's a sharp increase from the one case reported in 2014.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella Pertussis.
"I think it's just in the community," said Deborah Booher, Epidemiology Charge Nurse at the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District. "Like I said, it's endemic in any community and it just kind of re-surges every three to four years."
Pertussis is most common and severe in infants. However, it can strike at any age. It is usually mild in older children and adults.
"The thing we want to stress to the public is we need to be sure to immunize everybody," said Booher.
Immunizations are not only needed for young infants or children, but also family members. Health officials said it's the best way to stop the spread of the illness, and keep from catching it.
The age of those children impacted by the disease in Wichita County ranged from 3 months to 14-years-old. Six of those kids were under the age of one year.
The symptoms can begin with a runny nose, mild fever, sneezing and a cough that slowly gets worse. After one or two weeks the coughing may occur in strong coughing fits with a characteristic whoop, according to health officials.
Vaccinations can be given at your healthcare provider's office or at the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District's Immunization Clinic. If someone in your family exhibits the above symptoms, especially an infant, please keep your child home and contact your medical provider.
Contact the Health District's Immunization Clinic at (940)761-6841 for vaccination questions and hours of operation.