SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A highly contagious respiratory disease is spreading among kids here in Jefferson County and in Shelby County.
The warning from the Alabama Department of Health has parents in Jefferson and Shelby counties on high alert. The Department has identified nine kids with laboratory results of positive pertussis - or whooping cough.
The outbreak is an important reminder before your kids go back to school.
"Whether it's the whooping cough, whether it's just a virus going around, as soon as kids are back in school, they're sharing germs with everyone else so we do see an uptick here," said Betsy Stewart with MainStreet Family Urgent Care.
She said they've had a busy Saturday. Concerned families have been calling in or stopping by because they believe they may have come in contact with someone with pertussis.
"If your kids are showing symptoms - low-grade fever, runny nose, cough - they can come into the urgent care like this to be treated and be evaluated to see if that's what it is," she said.
If the illness persists, it can turn into violent coughing, making it difficult to breathe.
"Really, it's that younger population, those infants, people who are under one years old, or the elderly who are susceptible to having complications when they contract it," said Stewart.
ADPH said pertussis can be deadly for babies less than a year old, and urge everyone to be up to date on their pertussis vaccine, which is required before entering school.
The department said about half of the ill people aren't up to date on their vaccines.
That urgent care center has orders in right now for test kits to check if your child has contracted the illness.
Persons with pertussis and PLI attended one or more of facilities and events listed below:
- Shades Valley Community Church in Jefferson County between June 1 and July 15
- YMCA Legacy Day Camp in Jefferson County between June 4 and June 8
- Church of the Highlands - Grants Mill location in Jefferson County between June 27 and July 22
- Church of the Highlands – Greystone location in Shelby County between June 28 and July 19
- YMCA - Greystone in Shelby County between July 4 and July 14
- Mount Laurel Elementary Summer Singers Camp in Shelby County between July 9 and July 13
- Mount Laurel Library in Shelby County on July 16
- Winshape Camp at Double Oak Community Church in Shelby County between July 16 and July 20