Parents on alert for "Whooping Cough" outbreak

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ANDERSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - There are five cases of the "Whooping Cough" confirmed by the Anderson County Health Department, and they say that's enough to consider it an outbreak of the infectious bacteria.

Health Director Tim Wright said all of the cases can be traced to a fifth grade classroom at Emma B. Ward Elementary, in Lawrenceburg.

"The first case we had was October 22nd. We got the confirmation that it was positive, I think it was on November 8th, and it escalated from there," said Wright.

Wright added that one of the cases even included a toddler with ties to a fifth grader at the school, showing just how contagious this infection can be.

"The incubation period is six to 21 days, so you can have the bacteria and not have symptoms yet. So that's why it's very important for us to get on top of this."

Wright said students are required to get immunized before entering the first grade, a second round of the immunization is given to students before entering the sixth grade. Wright said it's as if the immunity wore off.

Parents at the school say they are concerned about the outbreak after getting a letter, and in some cases a phone call, from the school.

"I don't really know a whole lot about it but it's crazy how it spreads so easily," said Jimmie Hawkins, a parent of a third grader, who was hoping to have lunch with his child but had to cancel because of the health concern.

Gail Hoskins, a mother of a first grader added, "That really scares me knowing that there's five. They said it wasn't in the end of the school where my son is in, but he has a low immune system and he catches everything."

The school board said the building will be cleaned multiple times a day, and Friday after school, free vaccines will be offered to all fifth graders, staff, and even the bus drivers. The immunizations will be done at the elementary school from 4-5:30 pm.

"When you're dealing with elementary school aged kids, it's pretty serious," stated Wright.

According to a fact sheet handed out by the Anderson County Health Department, after five days of treatment the "whooping cough" is no longer considered contagious. Wright said his department has notified doctors in the area to treat anyone who may have come into contact with the infection, regardless of any symptoms being shown.

More information on the "Whooping Cough" can be found on the Anderson County Health Department's facebook page below.

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