Health officials confirm 3 whooping cough cases in Rock County

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Rock County Health Department officials announced on Friday that they have confirmed three cases of whooping cough.

Karen Cain, the county’s public health officer, said in a news release that health officials are taking precautions to stem the spread of the ailment. She said that nurses are contacting the three people’s known contacts to assess their risk for developing whooping cough, also know as pertussis.

Health officials said that whooping cough is “a contagious bacterial disease that affects the respiratory tract.” They said infections are more serious in the case of infants and young children. The ailment is spread by coming in contact with the “respiratory droplets” from an infected person spread through coughing.

Cain said that exposure typically occurs only through “repeated indoor, face-to-face contact.”

Health officials said that the symptoms in infants and young children appear like a cold — runny nose, low-grade fever and “mild but irritating cough” for one to two weeks. They said the disease progresses into periods of “explosive coughing” and accompanied by vomiting and exhaustion. They said that those who fall ill could develop a low crowing or “whooping” sound as they inhale. They said the symptoms are milder and without the “whoop” sound among older children, teens and adults.

Officials said that vaccines are available at a physician’s office or the county Health Department. For more information, residents are asked to call 608-757-5440 or 608-364-2010.