Health officials urging whooping cough vaccinations after cases confirmed in Angelina Co.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The State of Texas issued a health alert earlier this month after seeing a steady increase in whooping cough cases across the state.

Health officials are now monitoring less than five positive cases in Angelina County.

They are monitoring a disclosed number probable cases of meaning those outcome is still pending

Nacogdoches county health officials are reporting zero cases.

Since the end of August the state has reported 1,935 cases the highest numbers of cases the state has seen in 50 years.

"There has been several clusters of pertussis, more than the normal average, they feel like this year is going to be a big year for spreading of pertussis," said Sharon Shaw, Health District Administrator. Pertussis or whopping cough is an airborne illness, that is spread when an infected person breaths, coughs or sneezes.

Health officials say the disease is most dangerous for babies and young children.

"With the serve coughing they expel all the air in their lungs and they try to gasp for air and it's the gasping for air that makes the whoop sounds," said Shaw.

The symptoms of whooping cough are similar to the common cold and Shaw says the cough can last anywhere from three to four weeks.

"This particular cough is violent it can lead to vomiting you can lose your breath and small children can actually turn blue trying to regain their breath," said Shaw.

Public Health Preparedness and Infectious Disease Director Sarah Adams says the Tdap vaccine is the only way to prevent whooping cough.

The vaccine is recommended for all adults and adolescents, especially those caring for children.

"Its vaccine that treats it, the most important thing they can do it get a vaccination to prevent the spread," said Adams.

Whooping cough starts with runny nose, sneezing and a mild cough, health officials say if these symptoms continue for several weeks to contact your physician for treatment.

The Tdap vaccine is all recommended for all pregnancy women and is usually administered in the third trimester. The vaccine is available at the Angelina County Health District.

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