The Virginia Department of Health has reported an outbreak of whooping cough in Floyd County.
About 30 people have the illness, which is a highly contagious infection characterized by coughing fits that can last for up to 10 week. It is also called pertussis. Some people also called it the “100 day cough”.
The New River Health District Director Dr. Molly O’Dell said she anticipates more people will be diagnosed.
She also said that the outbreak is caused by people not being properly vaccinated.
The CDC website says, “Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud ‘whooping’ sound.” (Hear the cough by clicking on the link).
The cough can cause people to be very tired and in some cases vomit.
Not everyone “whoops” with the infection. It is a milder cough in teens and adults, especially those who have been vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Early symptoms can last for one to two weeks and are similar to a cold, including a runny nose, low-grade fever, and a mild or occasional cough.
O’Dell said the outbreak is a reminder of the need for adults and children to be vaccinated against the infection.
You can read more about the outbreak and its connection to Blue Mountain School, a private school, in the story I wrote in today’s paper. [UPDATE 4/6: More details about how half the students at Blue Mountain School became ill with whooping cough END UPDATE]