The state of Kentucky has experienced a rise in reported cases of pertussis, with public health officials reporting 87 cases between August and December 2015.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria and is transmitted through respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing or talking. This vaccine-preventable disease can be deadly to infants too young to have been fully vaccinated, so it’s especially important for parents and caregivers of young children to be up-to-date on immunizations.

Furthermore, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) reminds all Kentuckians who meet age recommendations to receive vaccine, particularly for individuals who are providing care for infants under the age of six months old.

The highest concentration of cases occurred in Jefferson County and the Northern Kentucky region. Kentuckians of all ages have been impacted.

“It’s important for communities to work together to control the spread of the disease,” said Dr Kraig Humbaugh, senior deputy commissioner at DPH. “Developing community-wide immunity through vaccination is an important strategy for pertussis control. We strongly encourage those who haven’t done so to get an adolescent or adult pertussis booster vaccine.”

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