To the editor:
There is an outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) in Douglas County — 86 cases and rising.
As the new Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department health officer, I urge you to take precautions to avoid school, work and public places if you are sick. It is a very contagious bacterial infection, and deaths have occurred nationally.
While vaccinations are not 100 percent effective, they help reduce the complications of the illness. Vaccinated individuals often have mild symptoms but can still spread the disease if they have pertussis. If you have an infant, pregnant woman, elderly resident or an individual who has trouble fighting infections in your family, please be extra cautious, as serious complications are highest in these groups.
If you have cold-like symptoms, especially persistent coughing, check with your doctor. It’s also important to make sure that you and your children are up to date on immunizations for pertussis.
And, please remember to wash your hands.