More cases of Whooping Cough confirmed in Buffalo County - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

More cases of Whooping Cough confirmed in Buffalo County

ALMA (Press Release) – Fifteen cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have now been confirmed in Buffalo County, according to the Buffalo County Public Health Department. The first confirmed case was reported in late June.

"Every time a confirmed pertussis case is reported," said Jennifer Rombalski, Buffalo County public health officer, "we are identifying who else may have been exposed and are contacting families to get them tested and treated. So far we have contacted 330 people across several counties.

"The best actions you can take to stop the disease from spreading is to wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs, watch for symptoms, and call your doctor if you're concerned about the symptoms," Rombalski said.

Pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease. It can affect adults, babies and children and is spread by the coughing of an infected person.

            Pertussis symptoms include the following for babies and young children:

  • Initial cold-like symptoms (runny nose, low-grade fever, mild but irritating cough) for one or two weeks.
  • Symptoms worsen. Explosive coughing (followed by a whooping sound) makes breathing, eating or sleeping difficult, and the child may vomit or become exhausted. These symptoms may last for a few weeks up to two months or longer.
  • In very young babies (less than 6 months of age), pertussis can lead to bacterial pneumonia, weight loss, and dehydration. More than half of the babies with confirmed pertussis are hospitalized.

            In older children and adults, the symptoms are usually milder and without the typical whoop.

Pertussis is spread most easily in the early stage, before the explosive cough begins. Symptoms usually appear 7-20 days after exposure. The disease is treated with antibiotics, and the infected person should stay home from work or school for at least the first five days of treatment.

Between January 1 and June 30 of this year, 424 pertussis cases have been investigated statewide, according to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Last year during the same time period, 3,955 cases had been reported.

More information about pertussis can be found at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Web site:

"Pertussis disease fact sheet"

"Is it a cold, flu or pertussis?"

For additional resources, please call the Buffalo County Health Department at 608-685-4412 or visit the Web site at

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