The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is investigating cases of whooping cough recently reported in the county.
The department received a report of a child with pertussis attending the U.S. Martial Arts Tournament in St. Albans and a child in Kanawha County schools, according to the news release.
Also known as pertussis, the respiratory disease is caused by the bacteria bordetella pertussis. It's very contagious and most commonly is spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing close to others.
In the beginning stages, pertussis is similar to the common cold and people are most contagious up to about two weeks after the cough begins, the release states.
Later stages of pertussis symptoms consist of coughing fits, vomiting, exhaustion after coughing fits and a cough lasting up to 10 weeks or more.
Health officials say anyone can get pertussis but it is most dangerous in unvaccinated infants, people with weakened immune systems and the elderly.People who have symptoms or suspect they have been exposed to the bacteria should contact their physicians or the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department's Division of Epidemiology at 304-348-1088.