FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2017

Whooping cough outbreak in West Virginia

West Virginia's Ohio County has reported three cases of whooping cough, labeling the cases as an outbreak because the county normally only sees one case a year.

Howard Gamble, the administrator of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, told WTOV9.com that the cases have been linked to Wheeling, West Virginia's Ritchie Elementary School.

"Parents should be watching out for it," Gamble told WTOV9.com. "If they think that the child needs to be seen, don't hesitate. Take them to their pediatrician or their primary care and have them seen and evaluated. If necessary, they'll run a test or prescribe antibiotics."

The outbreak was identified over the weekend when the Ohio County Health Department was notified by a physician of a potential whooping cough case that was confirmed by lab results, WTOV9.com reports.

"The Health Department and Howard Gamble called Diana Vargo, our deputy superintendent, and advised that they had a possibility of a whooping cough issue at one of our schools," George Krellis, the Ohio County Schools superintendent, told WTOV9.com. "We worked with the health department immediately to come up with some kind of strategy to work with them and not take the information lightly."

A prevention clinic was set up by administrators with the school. Children exposed to the infection were given medications while parents were informed of the causes of the illness and symptoms.

All staff members at the school were also offered the whooping cough vaccine, WTOV9.com reports.