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HEALTH WATCH: ‘Whooping cough’ cases on the rise

EUREKA- The number of local Pertussis cases is on the rise.

Pertussis, commonly known as Whooping Cough, is a communicable disease that has cold-like symptoms and is characterized by uncontrollable coughing. People with Pertussis might experience a runny nose, fever, and other cold-like symptoms within the first week of the infection. Those infected will often develop an uncontrollable cough with a deep “whooping” sound when trying to take a breath.

According to the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there have been 29 cases of Pertussis so far this year. That number is up from the 6 cases reported in 2013.

However, health officials say that this spike is normal.

“It's not unexpected,” said Hava Phillips, Public Health Nurse with the DHHS. “Pertussis is something that the human body doesn't develop immunity to very well and that’s for both the vaccine and the disease. So what we see is that every three to five years as immunity starts waning after the most recent spike, we will see another spike.”

The last spike was in 2010 with 62 cases reported in Humboldt County. Health officials encourage the public to stay up to date on their vaccinations and observe health precautions such as washing hands frequently. Pertussis can be life threatening to those with compromised immune systems and children under one year old.