The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has reported a significant increase in pertussis cases compared to previous years.
Statewide, there are 141 confirmed cases and 166 probable cases of what is commonly known as whooping cough. Fifty-four counties have at least one case. Five counties - Douglas, Johnson, Kiowa, Reno and Sedgwick - comprise 51 percent of the cases.
In 2004, there were 98 confirmed cases of whooping cough. There were 23 in 2003 and 38 in 2002.
KDHE officials said it is critical for parents to vaccinate their children for pertussis. There used to be no vaccine against whooping cough after the age of 7. But vaccinations are now available for children and adults, and KDHE suggests parents consider the option.
Whooping cough is spread by coughing or sneezing. Common symptoms include extended coughing spells followed by a "whooping" sound when a person breathes in. Vomiting also may occur after a coughing episode.