LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18 ) — The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department said Tuesday that a case of pertussis, or whooping cough, has been confirmed at Henry Clay High School.
It is the fifth confirmed case in Lexington this year and the second case at Henry Clay High School. On Monday, the Health Department confirmed a case at Bryan Station High School. Cases also have been confirmed at Tates Creek High School and Athens-Chilesburg Elementary.
Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages but can be most serious in infants and those with chronic diseases.
Health Department officials recommend antibiotics for high-risk students, including those with weakened immune systems or serious illnesses.
A vaccine is typically given to children, but a booster may be needed after age 11.
For more information about pertussis and vaccines, call the Health Department at call 859-288-2437.
The early symptoms are similar to a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and coughing. After 1-2 weeks, the cough often gets worse, changing from a dry, hacking cough to bursts of uncontrollable, sometimes violent, coughing. During a coughing episode, it might be temporarily impossible to take a breath because of the intensity and repetition of the coughs. When finally able to breathe, the person might take a sudden gasp of air, which can cause a “whooping” sound. Vomiting and exhaustion can often follow a coughing spell.