Interim state health officer Dr. Ed Thompson said he has asked the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for help in responding to an outbreak of whooping cough, also called pertussis, in the state.
He said more than 80 whooping cough cases have been reported in Mississippi, with most of them clustered in Neshoba, Leake, Lauderdale, Attala, Newton, and Winston counties.
Thompson said CDC epidemiologists have plenty of expertise in containing such outbreaks.
Health officials are providing booster vaccines. Thompson said the outbreak flared rather quickly, as re-emerging diseases often do. The focus now is on containing it.
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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