WACO, TX — The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is investigating what they say is a community-wide outbreak of Pertussis, also known as the Whooping Cough.
Of the eight cases, the health district says there is not a single source or person connecting all of the cases.
According to the Public Health District,
Pertussis is a bacterial infection that affects the airways and can easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Pertussis can cause a severe cough that lasts for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting.
The organization warns that early symptoms can resemble the flu. These symptoms may include a runny nose, fever and mild cough.
Symptoms in later stages of Pertussis can include, "Fits of rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop/barking” sound; Vomiting during or after coughing fits; and Exhaustion after coughing fits," said the Public Health District.
The organization asks that if you or anyone in your family has these symptoms to contact your health care provider (regardless of whether you have already received the vaccine).
"Anyone can get pertussis," says the Public Health District. "It can be very dangerous for babies and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially siblings and parents, can spread pertussis to babies. Vaccination is the best protection against Pertussis."
Vaccination does not necessarily offer immunity for your entire lifetime. Booster doses are necessary to continue the protection, says the Public Health District, and both adult and children vaccines are available.
For more information, please visit the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District's website for more information on Pertussis and Immunization Clinic hours at www.wacomclennanphd.org.