SUFFOLK COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Health officials in Suffolk County are alerting the public to a rise in whooping cough cases.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services documented 108 cases as of Saturday. The vast majority of the reported cases are school-aged children and their parents.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The most common symptoms are cough, nasal congestion and fever. The cough can last several weeks.
"With so many respiratory illnesses currently circulating, some for which there are no treatment, we wanted to make sure that parents know that pertussis, also called whooping cough, can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early," said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott. "Whooping cough can be very serious for infants too young to be vaccinated, which is why we are alerting both medical providers and the public that this illness is circulating."
Infants, especially when unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, are the most likely to have severe disease or complications such as pauses in breathing, convulsions, pneumonia, disease affecting the brain, or death.
Routine vaccination against whooping cough is recommended for children and adults. Most people can recover with a course of antibiotics.
Preventative antibiotics are also available for people who are high risk and are exposed to someone infected with whooping cough.
No hospitalizations from this outbreak of whooping cough have been reported, health officials say.