Public health officials in Tazewell County are informing residents that several cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, have been confirmed in the area. The Tazewell County Health Department has had three confirmed cases of pertussis this year.  
Parents should be aware of Pertussis symptoms and contact their health care provider if concerned.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the upper respiratory system. Pertussis is easily spread from person to person through respiratory secretions or mucus. Pertussis is treated with antibiotics after diagnosis. Symptoms of pertussis typically last six to 10 weeks and can occur in three stages.
Stage one begins with cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing and a mild cough.  
In stage two, cold-like symptoms fade, but the cough gets worse. The cough becomes a dry, hacking cough that is uncontrollable with vomiting and gagging.  Coughing may become worse at night.
In stage three, the cough may become louder and sound worse.  
Pertussis is especially dangerous to infants who have not completed their vaccinations if exposed to pertussis.  Parents and caregivers are encouraged to receive the immunization booster to protect against whooping cough in children.
Parents with questions regarding their child’s cough should consult with their health care provider. Additional information is available at www.tazewellhealth.org or http://www.idph.state.il.us.