Ohio sees whooping cough outbreak

Sept. 4, 2010 at 5:56 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Ohio health officials have declared a whooping cough outbreak in Franklin County, urging people at risk to seek a booster shot against the infection.

Columbus City Medical Director Dr. Mysheika LeMaile-Williams said the number of clusters of reported cases was rising, The Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday.

Officials said 410 cases have been reported this year in Columbus and Franklin County and 258 have been laboratory-confirmed.

People, especially those in contact with infants, have been urged to get a booster shot to protect against the bacterial infection, known formally as pertussis.

Babies are a primary concern because they have undeveloped immune systems and, until 6 months old, have little protection against the disease characterized by fits of coughing sometimes followed by a "whooping" indrawn breath, officials said.

Whooping cough is easily spread through respiratory droplets.

Columbus Public Health officials said the city would offer clinics offering booster shots.

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