Whooping cough cases rise in Illinois

Health officials in Peoria, Illinois, have reported that seven cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, have been reported in the tri-county area.

Sarah Fenton, the Tazewell County director of nursing, told PJStar.com that the county has seen five cases. Of those, one victim is an adult.

“We commonly have one to two a year,” Fenton told PJStar.com. “Having had five cases within the last month and within the last week is a cause for concern, and we're certainly watching it very closely.”

Peoria County has reported two cases. So far, Woodford County Health Administrator Laurie Schierer said no cases have been reported in the county. She noted, however, that the situation is being closely monitored.

Fenton told PJStar.com that, while children are most vulnerable to the disease, adults can become infected if they have not have not been recently immunized.

Fenton added that parents should get children vaccinated as early as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also suggests that if your child is ill with cold-like symptoms and has a cough that gets worse, the child should be evaluated by a physician.

Randy McClallen, the Peoria City/County Health Department's communicable disease coordinator, told PJStar.com that even though most of the recent larger outbreaks have been in California, the ease of travel makes it easier for the disease to spread to other parts of the country quickly.

“We just want to make sure people are informed that it is still around and hasn't gone away and if they have children who are ill they should seek medical attention,” McClallen told PJStar.com.