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Number of whooping cough cases continues to increase

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By Mallory Bilger

HEBRON ESTATES – The number of confirmed cases of Pertussis — better known as whooping cough — in children at Freedom Elementary rose to six last week, according to the Bullitt County Health Department.

Andrea Renfrow, department preparedness planner, said that no more cases had been confirmed as of Friday.

“We have worked closely with the schools and the schools have sent letters home,” Renfrow said. “Additional letters have been sent home to those who were in close contact with the cases.”

Bullitt County Public School District health coordinator Lesa Bodine said Friday that the district was awaiting the results of several other students who had been tested for the disease.

She said parents could assist the district in knowing the symptoms and seeking medical help for their children if needed.

“They need to know the signs and symptoms,” she said. “If (your) child is sick, please see their primary care physician.”

Bullitt County School System attorney Eric Farris said he though five of the cases were found in  one classroom and another case had been diagnosed in another classroom at Freedom.

According to the Healthy Department’s advisory, whooping cough is highly contagious and is spread through the air when people with the disease cough or sneeze.

The ailment begins similarly to a cold with sneezing, runny nose, low fever and a mild cough.

After about 10 days of noticing the infection, the person develops severe coughing bouts during which he or she makes a “whoop”-like noise when trying to breath, according to the advisory.

Parents or guardians who suspect their child might be infected should visit their primary care physician and request a Pertussis test. Age or a child’s previous vaccination for Pertussis does not mean the child cannot contract the disease.

For more information, contact the Bullitt County Health Department at 955-7387.