The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department on Monday announced eight confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. Although the majority of those affected are adolescents, the afflicted individuals range in age from one month old to 49 years old. The cases were identified between June 1 and June 25.
Whooping cough resembles an ordinary cough in its early onset, but over time may turn more serious. The highly infectious bacterium Bordetella pertussis is especially threatening to infants and is most contagious before the coughing begins. After one to two weeks of typical cold symptoms, the symptoms may accelerate to bursts of numerous rapid coughs that can lead to vomiting and exhaustion. Infants infected with whooping cough risk developing apnea, pneumonia, seizures, and even death. Complications for adults are rare.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department urges individuals experiencing symptoms to contact their healthcare providers.
Katherine Perry is an Independent intern.