Whooping cough cases up in Henderson Co.

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HENDERSON Co., NC (WSPA) – Students at several schools in Henderson County and throughout the community have tested positive for whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

On Wednesday, Henderson County health officials announced that the number of cases has increased.

There are 20 cases so far. There were originally 8 cases.

About 1,000 people in Henderson County have had close contact with someone with whooping cough.

What is Pertussis?
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a serious respiratory infection caused by the pertussis bacteria that affects the lungs and breathing tubes. Whooping cough is easily spread when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms 
1. Can begin up to 21 days after exposure
2. Start much like the common cold with sneezing, runny nose, mild cough
3. Coughing fits that may cause vomiting and make it hard to breathe can begin 1-2 weeks after first symptoms and can last for months.

Who is at Risk 
1. Anyone can get whooping cough. Even those who have been fully vaccinated can get the infection but will have milder symptoms.
2. Whooping cough is especially dangerous for infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

What should I do? 
1. If you have been notified that you or a family member may have been exposed:
a) If the person who had contact with a case has symptoms, STAY HOME TO KEEP OTHERS FROM GETTING SICK and contact your doctor for appropriate care.
2. If the doctor thinks you may have whooping cough and gives you an antibiotic, you should stay home until you finish taking the medication.