Whooping cough cases up 226 percent in N.Ky.

EDGEWOOD, Ky. (AP) — Health officials in northern Kentucky say there’s been a big increase in the number of whooping cough cases this year in that area as well as around the U.S.

Since January, 111 cases of pertussis have been reported to the Northern Kentucky Health Department. That’s up 226 percent from last year. The average is 18 to 34 reported cases a year.

District Health Director Lynn Saddler says the disease is highly contagious and can cause severe complications for children under the age of 1.

The department recommends booster shots for anyone ages 11 to 64 and especially parents, grandparents and people who take care of children.

The department says young children should receive a vaccination for pertussis, which is usually given in four doses, beginning at 8 weeks of age.