Cases of whooping cough on rise in Suffolk County

November 29, 2011 1:38:35 PM PST
A startling number out today about the number of cases of whooping cough on Long Island.

Officials say, so far this year 216 cases have been reported in Suffolk County.

That's 4 times the number of cases from last year.

The Dickinson Avenue School in East Northport is just the latest to inform its parents about a case of Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough.

In fact, dozens of schools across the county have reported cases this year leaving some parents a little bit anxious.

"Every time they get sick or cough, it's scary," said Christine Hayden.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that begins with cold-like symptoms or a dry cough, and progresses to a distinctive, severe violent cough.

That can last for weeks or months.

The Suffolk County Health Department now confirms there has been a marked increase of Pertussis cases.

Dr. Dennis Russo, director of public health emergency preparedness for Suffolk County says the rise in whooping cough case is likely due in large part to better recognition and diagnosis of the disease.

Vaccination against Pertussis is a requirement for infants and young children and some parents we talked with today say the current string of cases in Suffolk has definitely made them more aware of the need.