Reno County, KS health officials are investigating an increase in pertussis, or whooping cough, prompting a call to the public to see their physician if you have a cough that has lasted 2 weeks.

Currently, more than 70 cases are being investigated. Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports 41 confirmed or probable cases for the county as of July 18, 2015.

Reno County, Kansas Image/David Benbennick
Reno County, Kansas
Image/David Benbennick

Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. The severe cough, often referred to as “Whooping Cough”, can last for weeks for months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting.

Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially mothers, can spread pertussis to newborns.

The best way to prevent pertussis among infants, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Keeping infants and those at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people is also important for prevention.