Six cases and counting, whooping cough in McLennan County

POSTED: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 3:12pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 12:40am

WACO -- The symptoms from this respiratory infection can stick with you for months, with signs mimicking anything from a common cold to an asthma attack. It's Pertussis, best known as whooping cough.

"What'll happen is over time, they will have this cough. And with children, they will get to a point especially infants, it will become very, very difficult to breathe. They pretty much almost cough themselves to death," Jacque Walker, Community Promotion Specialist with the McLennan County Public Health District said.

McLennan County now has six confirmed cases and are evaluating seven other cases for potential infection, primarily in Robinson.

But according to the McLennan County Public Health District, the infection is moving.

"At this point in time we know it began with an adult and is somehow spread throughout the community and now it is going to another community because one of the children is actually in the Hewitt area. So it's, kind of moving around a little bit," Walker said. 

Last year the county only confirmed four cases.

The infection is contracted through droplets from someone coughing or sneezing.

Although it can be treated, there is a way to avoid it.

"First thing is prevention and prevention is being immunized. I think that would be the first step for your children as well as yourself," she said.

Children can begin getting the immunization when they're two months old, but the vaccine does wear off so it's important to get a booster shot.

If you think you or your child contracted the infection, here's what to listen for:

"If it continues and it gets worse especially to the point that they're gasping for air with each cough, they need to go to the doctor immediately."

The McLennan County Public Health District vaccinates daily. For uninsured patients, the vaccine costs about 15 dollars.

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