70 cases of whooping cough reported in Forsyth Co.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Health officials in Forsyth County have seen more than 70 confirmed or probable cases of whooping cough since January.

Dr. Christopher Ohl, Medical Director for Communicable Disease at The Forsyth County Health Department and professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said most of the cases are in adolescents between the ages of 10 and 13.

Ohl says that's not surprising since there was an outbreak at four Forsyth County schools earlier this year and that's the age when the vaccine tends to weaken, thus the reason 6th graders are required to get a TDap vaccine within a month of entering the 6th grade.

"In the early part of this year in January and February we had some outbreaks in schools so that increased the number in that time frame. It also increased the awareness of physicians and so we are doing a lot more testing for Pertussis and discovering a lot more cases in our region than they are in other places in North Carolina," said Ohl.

Doctors say there are no set areas where the respiratory disease seems more prevalent.

Health officials are reminding adults that it is recommended to get a booster at least once in your adult life.

While it's nothing more than a nuisance for teens and adults, for babies under 1, Pertussis can be deadly. Doctors recommend all people caring for babies be vaccinated.

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