Pertussis cases rise in Iowa county

The number of whooping cough cases in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, has risen to 78 suspected or laboratory-confirmed cases since May 16.

Forty-eight of the cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, were confirmed or suspected on June 1, Globe Gazette reports.

Disease-prevention specialists with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health have encouraged residents to follow guidelines to preserve the safety and health of people in the area.

"We recommend people seek medical attention if they are experiencing a persistent cough," Karen Crimmings, a disease prevention and investigation service manager for the department, said, according to Globe Gazette. "It's very important that individuals being tested for pertussis finish five days of antibiotics before going anywhere in public."

Crimmings said that 78 cases is a fairly significant number of cases for the area, but that the spreading of the illness appears to be slowing down at the local level.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that can be lethal for infants. Adolescents and adults who have not gotten a pertussis vaccination since childhood are no longer immune to pertussis and should contact their local health department or medical provider. Symptoms of pertussis include coughing fits, difficulty breathing, vomiting and coughs that end with a high-pitched whoop sound when inhaling after multiple coughs.