More Pertussis Cases Reported in Wichita County

More cases of pertussis, or whooping cough is being reported in Wichita County.

Officials with the Wichita Falls – Wichita County Public Health District said four cases have been reported in the last week.  In the past three months, there have been a total of 19 cases.  This is a huge jump from last year.

"We had only one case all of last year," Lou Kreidler, the director at the Wichita Falls – Wichita County Public Health District said.

Out of the 19 cases since June, seven of them have been in children under the age of one.  This is the age, health officials are most concerned about.

"For an infant, the case is more severe and can result in hospitalization and even death," she said.

Part of the problem with infants that young, is they are unable to get their first immunization until they are two months old.  Health officials said they won't complete their initial series of vaccinations until they are six months old.  So, it is very crucial for parents and really anyone who is with a child that young, such as grandparents and caregivers, to already be vaccinated.

Knowing the symptoms are also important.  Generally, it starts with a mild fever and a runny nose.  With these symptoms, it is very common for people to mistakenly associate it will allergies, or a cold.  Health officials said you really need to listen to the cough and track how long it has been going on for.

"If they cough to the point where they're loosing their breath, or they're vomiting after their coughing because they're coughing so hard, then really to keep that child home and see their physician," Kreidler said.

Since school is in full swing, it’s important to keep your child home if they are sick.  That way it won’t spread any further.

“Really, the most important thing is to make sure that your child is vaccinated,” she said.

You can get this done at the Wichita Falls – Wichita County Public Health District.  The cost will depend on your health insurance coverage.

If you do get diagnosed with the whooping cough, it can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Out of the 19 cases reported in Wichita County, seven of them were in infants under the age of one.  Seven of them were in children between the ages of one and eight.  Four of them were between eight and 18 and there was one case in a 34-year-old person.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6