NewsCovering Kentucky


Health expert addresses area whooping cough, STI outbreaks

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Posted at 12:43 PM, Jun 26, 2024

VERSAILLES, Ky. (LEX 18) — While Woodford County has had a handful of positive tests for Pertussis, the spread of the respiratory illness has not risen to the level it has in Fayette County.

“We’re not super concerned, but you do have to keep your guard up for those who aren’t fully vaccinated,” said Cassie Prather, the county’s public health director.

Pertussis can morph into whooping cough, which is more severe, and if left untreated, it can become a problem.

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“If you have pertussis you are contagious for two weeks if you are not treated,” Prather said.

Prather noted that allergies and the common cold can lead people to think they have nothing more than a cough, when they are in fact walking around with Pertussis. With school out for the summer, Prather is much less concerned about Pertussis than she is about the Syphilis rate in her community.

Right now, based on CDC figures from May 24, 20.6 out of every 100,000 are testing positive for syphilis in Woodford County.

“That is over the state average,” which is why Prather is concerned.



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She said testing is available, antibiotics can treat the infection, and practicing safe sex is the bet preventative measure. Preventing widespread infection comes down to contact tracing, Prather noted.

“Any positive in our community, we have access to that test so we can contact trace. That’s the purpose of these reportable illnesses,” she said. “Those positive (cases) show up in our queue, and there are more than 100 of those (diseases and infections) that we are required to investigate,” Prather added.