Health officials are urging parents to be aware of the symptoms of whooping cough after 13 cases of the illness were confirmed in school-age children in Scott County.
There have been eight cases at Anne Mason Elementary, two at Scott County High School, and one each at Lemons Mill, Western and Stamping Ground elementaries, said Crystal Caudill, director of the WedCo Health District, which includes Scott County.
All 13 children are being treated. Symptoms of whooping cough can turn up 10 days after exposure. The TDap vaccine, which is required for school-age children in Kentucky, protects against it, diptheria and tetanus.
Caudill said families should make sure the immunizations of all family members are up to date. Health officials suggest that the protection can fade over time, so pregnant women and adults who are around school-age children, including parents, grandparents and baby sitters, should get a vaccine.
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"Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease, with a persistent cough," said Lois Davis, manager of public health for the Fayette County Health Department.
Doctors can confuse the symptoms with more common respiratory problems, Davis said. However, the loud, explosive cough that sometimes ends in a "whoop" is a red flag for further testing, she said.
It is treated with antibiotics, and children should not return to school until they have been on antibiotics for five days.
So far, Fayette County has had only two cases of whooping cough this year, Davis said. Neither involved a school-age child.