- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2011

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Health officials are urging medical providers to be alert for whooping cough following a cluster of cases at a child care center in western Henderson County.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection with cold-like symptoms and fits of coughing that can leave patients fighting for air. It is occasionally fatal in infants.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that Henderson County Health Department supervisor Linda Weldon says whooping cough may go undetected because it mimics other respiratory illnesses.

The once-common disease was dramatically reduced after vaccines were developed in the 1940s. Health officials say it is on the rise again because of fewer vaccinated people and weakening immunity after vaccinations pass the 10-year mark.

Henderson County reported eight cases between September and February. Buncombe County had a record 68 cases in 2010.


Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, https://www.citizen-times.com

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