There is an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Neshoba County, Miss. State health officials say there have been more than fifty known cases there in the last few weeks.
It is highly contagious and can be very dangerous for young children.
Dr. Rebecca James of the Mississippi Health Department confirmed the number of cases and said it's certainly a high number for whooping cough.
Children are immunized for whooping cough before entering school, but she says children's immune systems don't always fight it off.
"So it starts off as a typical cold, but develops into a cough that sounds different than you would have with a normal respiratory illness," said Dr. Bret Boes of Riley Hospital.
Dr. James said cases of whooping cough have been noted in surrounding counties as well.
Dr. Boes says he has not seen any active cases at the Riley Hospital emergency room.
The most obvious symptom of whooping cough is intense coughing spells. Experts say there will normally be four to five coughs at a time, followed by a deep breath. Other symptoms are runny nose, severe upper respiratory congestion and low grade fever.
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