(WKBW) Have a cough that won't go away? Health officials in Chautauqua County say it could be whooping cough or pertussis.
The Chautauqua County Health Department says it is seeing a big increase in whooping cough cases, especially in the southern part of the county.
Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says whooping cough cases are higher this year than they've been in almost 50 years.
The infection settles in the respiratory system and causes those with it to cough, sometimes uncontrollably. The cough can make a "whooping" sound, but not always, and health officials say anyone with a persistent cough needs to get medical treatment. They say pertussis also spreads easily and can be fatal to babies.
Health officials blame the increase in whooping cough cases on vaccinations that are wearing off, especially for adults who need a dose of the vaccine every ten years.
If you need a vaccine against whooping cough, contact your doctor or the Chautauqua County Health Department.