WATERTOWN — Jefferson County has an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, with 23 confirmed cases since June 1.
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According to Jefferson County Public Health Service, which announced the outbreak Thursday, ages of the victims range from five months to 15 years old. The most common symptom is uncontrollable coughing followed by a “whoop sound.”
According to county public health, an infected individual can transmit whooping cough through coughing, sneezing or allowing direct contact with their respiratory secretions. Adults, older children, people who are vaccinated or who have been previously infected with whooping cough may experience milder symptoms, but can still transmit the illness.
“Whooping cough is a highly communicable disease. Infants and young children are at greatest risk for severe, even deadly, complications,” wrote Ginger Hall, director of Jefferson County Public Health Service, in a statement. “Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease and we are urging everyone to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. Vaccination is the best defense against whooping cough.”