Whooping cough outbreak in Livingston County
Posted at: 06/11/2012 7:23 PM
| Updated at: 06/13/2012 10:36 AM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
There has been a severe uptick in a highly contagious bacterial disease in Livingston County. The County Health Department says there have been 55 cases of whooping cough reported since the first of the year, including 20 in the last week.
The center of the outbreak appears to be Livonia, which has seen 43 of the 55 cases.
News10NBC spoke with school superintendent Scott Bishoping. He says the number of new cases is going down.
"Well, those students that have any of the symptoms we're asking parents to keep them home, and have them checked by a doctor," says Bishoping.
He says of the 43 cases the school has seen, most the students affected are now back in school.
Bishoping says 30 of the confirmed 43 cases were in the high school, but says they've had cases at all age levels in the district.
Livingston County Health Director Joan Ellison says the outbreak is concerning, but no reason for panic. "
I don't think we should panic. We're not in a mass epidemic here. We have an outbreak and we need to deal with that effectively and efficiently," says Ellison.
Ellison says its important that people don't ignore warning signs of whooping cough. They should see a doctor for treatment with antibiotics. "I think parents just need to be aware that if their child has a cough lasting more than two weeks and that it is couple with fever and not feeling well and that cough just seems to be persistent, they should see their physician."
Whooping cough isn't seen that often in the general public. Christine Donivan, a student at Alfred University, says she remembers an outbreak when she was at Livonia High School.
We had it a couple years ago when I was going to school. I think there was a couple kids who had it. They were out of school for a week, something like that," says Donivan.
Former Livonia teacher Carol Ewert had whooping cough when she was ten years old.
She says the name fits the illness. "Oh, you had a big whoop. That was part of it. You felt it. It was like a bad flu and all of a sudden you had this bad whoop that comes out of you and just cough bad."
Most infants and small children receive a series of shots of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
The Livingston County Health Director says whooping cough is showing up in schools more because teens' immunity may be on the wane, and they may need booster shots.
Boosters are recommended for adolescents 11 to 18 years of age, and preferably at 11 and 12 years ago.
A spokesman for the Monroe County Health Director says there have been 25 reported cases of whooping cough since the first of the year. He says part of it may be that the health department is encouraging doctors to test for pertussis.