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Whooping cough cases reported in Island County

Whooping cough is again showing up in Island County in numbers well above the expected rate, health officials said Thursday.

Over the past several days at least five cases of pertussis have been confirmed in Central Whidbey and several others are suspected in the South End.

"We'll have confirmation tomorrow on those in the South Whidbey area who are being evaluated," said Island County Medical Officer Dr. Roger Case.

Case noted that the first cases were reported in children because their symptoms are more pronounced.

"It's a very contagious disease," Case added. "But it spreads faster among adults because they don't realize they have it."

Island County Health Department workers are busy tracking the cases and following up on people who may have been exposed.

Case added that anyone having a persistent cough for more than a few days should consider the possibility they may have pertussis, which is spread by coughing.

Immunization, while not 100 percent effective, sharply reduces the chances for contracting the disease.

Case recommended that persons suspected of having pertussis should avoid contact with others until no longer contagious and take the full course of antibiotic treatment.

For information, visit www.islandcounty.net/health/pertussis. All cases of pertussis should be reported to the Island County Health Department at 360-679-7350.

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