Whooping cough cases in Lexington reached their highest number in years

Whooping cough illustration

Fernando Salazar

The number of whooping cough cases in Lexington in the past six weeks has surpassed the total number of cases in the previous five years combined.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said Tuesday that whooping cough cases increased by six in the past week, for a total of 27 confirmed cases since April 26.

Before this outbreak, the city had only recorded 16 cases of whooping cough in the past five years, the Health Ministry said in a post on social media platform X.

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Because immunity in vaccinated people tends to wane over time, the health department reiterated the importance of boosters for adults and older children.

The highly contagious disease spreads through coughing and sneezing. According to the CDC, infants, people with asthma, and people with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for serious illness.

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to a cold: a runny or stuffy nose, low-grade fever and mild cough. A week or two later, the cough becomes much more severe, resulting in severe coughing fits that can cause vomiting, fatigue, breathing difficulties and even broken ribs, the CDC says.

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