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Health Officials: Whooping cough now an 'outbreak' in Lexington

Lexington Fayette County Health Department

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has declared pertussis, or whooping cough, in outbreak status after nine total cases have been confirmed since late April.

Cases of whooping cough in Lexington have been upgraded, following three additional confirmed infections on Monday.

The latest are a case at Lafayette High School, another at St. Peter and Paul Catholic School and one in an individual in his/her 80s.

While whooping cough is marked by aggressive coughing, that symptom doesn’t typically show up for a week or two. Instead, the illness presents – at first – as a normal cold with runny nose, sneezing, a low-grade fever, and coughing. The telltale sign is a more dry, hacking kind of cough that takes more time to develop.

The health department is asking all caregivers who take children to the doctor for typical cold symptoms to go ahead and get them checked for whooping cough, and to keep tabs on their own symptoms, as the illness is highly contagious.

See more info on whooping cough, also known as pertussis, and vaccines.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.