Whooping cough still spreading in Asheville area
ASHEVILLE — Whooping cough continues to spread throughout Western North Carolina, sickening school children around the region and causing hundreds to receive preventative medication.
There have been five reported cases of the disease in Buncombe County so far this year, including two in March and one last week.
The majority of cases were in elementary school-age children.
“It is not really stopping,” said Sue Ellen Morrison, disease control specialist at the Buncombe County Department of Health. “We are continuing to see cases and more than what we would want to see with pertussis.”
Morrison said it is hard to tell if the number of cases will continue to climb.
No one in Buncombe County has been hospitalized from the disease last year or so far this year.
The disease has been on the rise in recent years as a result of better reporting and an increase in unvaccinated people.
Morrison said the disease also spreads because pertussis vaccine is less effective at preventing the disease compared with other vaccines, making people vulnerable.
The five cases this year were among people who had been vaccinated.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people contracted whooping cough last year.
Officials said not being vaccinated or up-to-date on vaccines can spread the disease.
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