MADISON COUNTY, Il. (KMOV) -- Madison County is investigating a significant increase in whooping cough (pertussis) cases. The health department has reported more cases this year than it did in all of 2011.
Fourteen cases of whooping cough were reported in April in Madison County. That compares to 16 cases reported in 2011.
Six additional cases were reported for the month of May. The cases are not connected.
Whooping cough, nicknamed for the distinct, high-pitched “cough” noise, is a bacterial infection that is highly contagious, and it usually affects children. Adults, especially those in close contact with small children, are encouraged to get the TDAP booster.
Public health officials stress the importance of prevention. Amy Yeager, Health Promotion Services Manager for the Madison County Health Department, said it is crucial people keep their hands clean, stay home if they are sick, and get vaccinated.
“Take this moment to re-evaluate,” Yeager said. “Are you doing these preventive measures? Are your vaccinations up to date? Have you had your TDAP as an adult? Are your children vaccinated?”
Other parts of the country have been hit much harder by whooping cough. The outbreak in Washington state has been classified as an epidemic. Still local health departments aren’t taking any chances.
A new Illinois law requires students entering grades 6th or 9th to be vaccinated for the 2012-2013 school year. The same rules apply to 7th and 12th graders in the 2013-2014 school year.
Yeager said her department continues to investigate the cases.
The St. Clair County Health Department has no whooping cough cases.