New York reports new whooping cough cases

The Tioga County Health Department in New York state has reported five new cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, this week.

Pertussis begins with flu-like symptoms, including runny nose and low-grade fever, but it can evolve over two weeks to include a very severe cough and difficulty breathing, according to

Those who are suspected of being infected are being urged to seek help.

“"They should immediately go see their medical provider, then go to an emergency room,” Tina Slavik, of the Tioga County Health Department, told “The local doctors and emergency rooms are aware that there are cases of pertussis in the area, so therefore they know how to look for and screen for it more accurately.”

New York is only one of several states that are seeing a rise in the prevalence of pertussis this year. It joins Idaho, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas in reporting major increases. Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and New York are all on track to exceed their last year’s totals, according to CIDRAP News.

California health officials have speculated that the rise could be at least partially attributable to gaps in tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine coverage. Seven infants in the state, all under the age of three, have died this year from the illness.

Newborns and infants are most vulnerable to pertussis. Infants and those who expect to be near infants should be immunized with the DTaP vaccine. Infants are often exposed to the disease by people who do not even realize they are carrying it, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Any adults and adolescents that were immunized as children should receive the vaccine again, as its effects can wane over time.