CLAYTON — Health officials in St. Louis County are seeing a big increase in cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
The highly contagious ailment primarily strikes children. Health officials cite 185 cases this year, including 123 during the past six weeks and 91 in November. Cases have been reported in 11 county school districts and three private schools.
Symptoms generally mirror those of a cold early on, with a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough and perhaps a low-grade fever. Within a couple of weeks, the cough may get worse and continue for several more weeks.
Health officials urge those with symptoms to stay home and especially stay away from expectant mothers, infants and young children. Vaccination is encouraged.