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County health department confirms 5 cases of whooping cough

The McHenry County Health Department is seen Wednesday in Woodstock.
The McHenry County Health Department is seen Wednesday in Woodstock.

McHenry County Department of Health has confirmed five cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in McHenry County residents.

The patients include two children and three adults, according to an MCDH news release issued Tuesday.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease known for uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe, according to the release. After coughing fits, some people with pertussis often need to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound.

The illness can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious and sometimes deadly for babies younger than one year old, according to the release.

The community should take regular health precautions to help limit the spread of disease, said Dr. Laura Buthod, medical director at MCDH.

“During this time when flu, COVID-19 and pertussis are circulating in our community, we must wash hands frequently, cover our coughs and stay home when ill to limit the spread of disease,” Buthod said.

The best way to protect against pertussis and the flu is through vaccination, Buthod said.

People infected with pertussis are treated with an antibiotic and are asked to remain home for five days, according to the release. All household members also are treated with antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick.

Anyone who has a cough and is contact with infants should check that they are up to date on their vaccines and call their health care provider for further evaluation if needed.

Additional information can be made available by emailing Health@mchenrycountyil.gov.

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