20 whooping cough cases in two Kansas counties

TOPEKA | The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says 20 cases of whooping cough have been reported in two Kansas counties.

The cases of the highly contagious disease, also called pertussis, were reported since June in Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties.

Those diagnosed with the disease ranged in age from one month to 49 years. One child had to be admitted to a hospital.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection transmitted by talking, sneezing and coughing. Symptoms are similar to a cold, although younger children may have more serious coughing fits and the characteristic whooping sound as they catch their breath.

The disease can be fatal in infants. Officials advise parents to keep young children away from people with coughing illnesses and to get them immunized.