CIRCLEVILLE - Officials in the Westfall Local School District are urging parents to be alert to signs of Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, after cases of the disease have been identified in the area.
According to the Pickaway County Health District, nine cases of Pertussis in western Pickaway County are currently being tracked by the agency.
Elaine Miller, RN, Director of Clinical Health Services, said the health department is working closely with the Westfall district nurse in tracking the cases, which currently consist of school-age children in that area.
Miller said the department is not aware of outbreaks in other areas of the county at this time, but all parents should know the signs and symptoms and take preventative measures against the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. It can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious or even deadly for babies less than a year old.
Miller said the most effective protection against Pertussis is the DTaP vaccine for young children, or the Tdap booster vaccine for preteens, teens and adults.
Parents should consult their family doctor regarding the vaccine, she said. Some residents also may be eligible for vaccination directly through the health department.
Vaccinated children and adults can still become infected with and spread Pertussis, though, according to the CDC. However, the disease is typically much less serious in vaccinated people.
Good hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes and proper hand-washing also are recommended to prevent the spread of Pertussis.
The Pickaway County General Health District can be reached by calling 740-477-9667.