TROY, N.Y. - The Rensselaer County Health Department says 26 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, have been identified thus far in 2012 with 11 since the beginning of August.
The ages of those impacted by the illness has ranged from four months of age to 59 years old.
Rensselaer County Epidemiology Coordinator, Sarah Duvall told reporters that the cases came in "a burst," and she is urging parents and adults to get vaccinated or receive a booster shot for the highly contagious disease.
Rensselaer County is not alone. Counties across the Capital Region and all over the state are seeing a huge jump in cases. A spokesperson with the Albany County Health Department tells NEWS10 that since January 1, they have recorded three times the number of whooping cough from last year.
Due to its outbreak, the County Health Department wants residents to be aware of the symptoms.
The illness starts with cold symptoms and a cough that gets progressively worse over 1-2 weeks and may last months. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughing fits that may be followed by whooping noises, vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching one's breath. Older children, adults, and very young infants may not show the characteristic whoop sound. The coughing often gets worse at night, and cough medicines usually will not lessen the cough. Generally, the symptoms and complications of pertussis are less noticeable among older children and adults.
Whooping Cough is a contagious disease that is usually spread through the air with close indoor repeated contact to an infected person by talking, coughing, or sneezing. Serious complications such as pneumonia can also result from the infection, especially among infants.
The County Health Department recommends the following to protect yourself:
-Children 2-18 months old should receive four doses of the vaccine
-People above age 7 can receive a pertussis booster vaccine
-Sneezing and coughing into your elbow or a tissue, not into your hands or the air
-Stay away from others while you are sick
-Persons diagnosed with pertussis must take the full course of antibiotics prescribed by their physician and remain isolated until they have completed five days of treatment in order to limit the spread of pertussis