STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. -- Only about halfway through July and so far this year, there have been nearly 50 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Steuben County. That compares to just one all of last year.
County health officials say they aren't entirely sure why the outbreak has occurred but want people to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms. In adults, whooping cough can appear as the common cold or sinus allergies but is much more serious if contracted by children. About half all of infants who get whooping cough end up in the hospital.
"Very young children, when they have whooping cough, it has a characteristic whoop. That's a high pitched sound and it's the sign of the respiratory distress. The child will not be well, they are going to be struggling to breathe," said Beverly Butts, the Steuben County Public Health Education Coordinator.
Officials say immunization is the best way to avoid contracting whooping cough for yourself and young children. Anyone who has a cough-like illness is asked to seek medical attention.