Health & Medicine

Fayette health department investigates whooping cough reports

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is investigating reports of pertussis, or whooping cough, after two cases were confirmed, with symptoms in seven others.

Pertussis is a contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It is most serious in infants.

The early symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and coughing, which later progresses from a dry hacking cough to bursts of uncontrollable coughing followed by the "whooping" sound as the person struggles to take a breath.

The health department said in a news release that anyone with such symptoms should visit a physician. Pertussis is treated with antibiotics. School-age children are required to have a pertussis vaccine, called Tdap.

The vaccine also is recommended for new parents and pregnant women. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults receive a booster every 10 years.

The health department offers the vaccine for $55; some insurances are accepted. For more information, call (859) 288-2483.