May 15, 2024 - News

😷 Rising whooping cough cases

Illustration of a stethoscope tube making the shape of a house.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Whooping cough cases are rising in Mecklenburg County, local health officials said in a press release Tuesday.

Why it matters: Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. The disease can be life-threatening for babies who aren't old enough to be fully vaccinated, immunocompromised people and pregnant women.

By the numbers: Nine confirmed cases and one suspected case have been reported to Mecklenburg County Public Health. All have been in people under the age of 17.

  • There have not been any reported hospitalizations or deaths.

Zoom in: Symptoms may include severe coughing fits, plus:

  • Whooping sound after a cough
  • Vomiting after coughing
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • A low-grade fever

What they're saying: "The increase in cases is an important reminder that vaccination is the single most effective way to prevent pertussis and reduce the severity of the disease," Mecklenburg County Public Health director Raynard Washington said in a statement.

  • "Unvaccinated people in the community create the opportunity for the disease to spread, even to vaccinated individuals."
  • The DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis) vaccine is the best way to help prevent pertussis, according to the county.
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