Health officials confirm spike in whooping cough cases

Officials with the Department of Public Health and Wellness has confirmed an increase in whooping cough cases.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – "I actually caught it when I was younger. I was probably like 9 or 10 when I caught it."

It's been many years since Lakisha Collins has had whooping cough but she can still remember the experience.

"It was just a bad cough, like just a real bad cough. Hoarse, fever, it was horrible," she said.

Collins is now the director at Our Angels Chlidcare Center... where she says there's a premium placed on the health and safety of the children in her care.

"You don't want to send them to daycare with as nasty cough and a runny nose and a fever and just give them some Tylenol and be like, 'Oh, they're okay.' Next thing you know, 20 people got it," Collins said.

"Make sure you're being vigilant and make sure anyone who's coming in contact with your children is vaccinated. As long as people are vaccinated, the chances of it spreading is small," Department of Public Health and Wellness Director Sarah Moyer said.

The Department of Public Health and Wellness says there have been seven reported cases of whooping cough in infants 12 months of age and younger in Jefferson County this September – a dramatic spike in the illness that could be deadly in some cases.

"A lot of vaccines wear off over time because of mutations and things like the flu shot, why we have to get the flu shot every year,” Moyer said.

Moyer says while there are antibiotics to treat whooping cough, the best way to prevent it is by parents keeping their children up to date with their vaccinations – something Collins says she and her staff monitor with all their children.

"Whoever it's time for renewal, we'll write it down and we'll remind the parents, 'It's time to take your child to the doctor. Shots are coming up.' If they miss, they can't come back until their records are up to date," Collins said.

"Our vaccination rates are pretty good in Louisville and we just want to make sure people stay on top of that and are getting vaccinated. We think it has more to do with the change in the formulation of the vaccine," Moyer said.

The Department of Public Health and Wellness says parents and caregivers should also get the booster vaccine again known as the T-Dap.

That's even if they've been vaccinated before as children because the department says vaccines can wear off and need to be updated to better prevent the current strains of disease.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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