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Whooping cough cases rise in South Dakota

ABERDEEN, S.D. — The number of pertussis cases in South Dakota is well above what it's normally been in recent years, according to the state health department.

Thirty-seven cases were reported in January and February, according to the health and disease summary released Tuesday, April 2. It marks a 517% increase from the six cases the state has averaged for the same timeframe during the last five years.

Of the 37 cases of pertussis reported, 25 were in Minnehaha County, according to state epidemiologist Joshua Clayton. Charles Mix, Corson, Grant, Hanson, Lincoln, Lyman, McPherson and Pennington counties all reported fewer than five cases.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of cases in South Dakota is expected to increase, Clayton said.

He said people should get all recommended vaccines. Individuals at high risk include infants, pregnant women in their third trimester and people with preexisting conditions.

Early symptoms resemble the common cold with runny nose, low-grade fever and mild cough, which is more severe at night. Later symptoms include numerous rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched whoop, and mucus discharge or vomiting following coughing episodes.