By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in the Waco,TX area are investigating a community wide outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough.

According to the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, there are 8 confirmed cases with no single source connecting all of the cases.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection that affects the airways and can easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Pertussis can cause a severe cough that lasts for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting.

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Early symptoms are flu-like (runny nose, fever, mild cough) while later stage symptoms include:
• Fits of rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop/barking” sound;
• Vomiting during or after coughing fits; and
• Exhaustion after coughing fits.

Anyone can get pertussis. It can be very dangerous for babies and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially siblings and parents, can spread pertussis to babies.

Vaccination is the best protection against Pertussis.  It does not provide lifelong immunity. Booster doses are essential to maintaining protection. The vaccine is available for children and adults.