Suffolk health officials confirm new whooping cough outbreak

NESCONSET - Suffolk County officials have confirmed 45 cases of whooping cough in the county, including one fatality that happened back in April.Suffolk Health Commissioner James L. Tomarken announced yesterday that a 7-week-old baby died from whooping cough. In addition, News 12 Long Island reported last week that 13 students from different schools in Smithtown were diagnosed with the infection. The Suffolk Health Department emailed letters to camp directors across the county, informing them about the increase in pertussis, or whooping cough, cases and listing symptoms to look out for.Health officials say while there is a vaccine against whooping cough, it's only about 80-percent effective and the protection does fade over time. "You've got two groups that are really susceptible, the infants and children that haven't been immunized yet, and the young adults and adults who think it's a child's disease and don't go for boosters," Tomarken says. Early symptoms of pertussis include runny nose, congestion, sneezing and possibly a mild cough, which after a week or two turns into severe and persistent coughing fits.

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMayo Clinic

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