About a month ago we told you about a local person who died from West Nile Virus.
Now we have another illness to warn you about that is affecting the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD). We're talking about pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
So far this year, in Virginia, there have been almost 400 cases of whooping cough.
Just in our health district, there have been 22 cases reported.
They say these cases are sporadic, and one local man who got it says it was a horrible experience.
"I was coughing, couldn't catch my breath, kind of. Just felt really bad. Felt like a really bad case of the flu," said Don Verpent.
That's how he felt when he went to the Emergency Room on Labor Day. Three days later, Verpent found out he had whooping cough.
"I felt very weak, very. Almost like I was dying... it was that bad," said Verpent.
The LFHD reports cases of whooping cough, like Verpent's, on the rise in Virginia. They say many adults don't have the vaccine to prevent it.
"Pertussis seems to come in cycles lasting about three to five years. We think we're approaching the peak of one of these cycles," said LFHD Health Director, Dr. Charles Devine.
Devine says pertussis is a bacterial illness that affects the respiratory system and can lead to serious illness, or even death.
"The cough is relentless and the person it, particularly children, develop a whooping sound," said Devine.
"I'm still not 100%. It's been about six weeks. I still have some issues at night sleeping, a lot of coughing at night, but I'm about 95% better," said Verpent.
Verpent says he'll be getting a Tdap vaccine to prevent this from happening again, though it may not be a guaranteed solution.
"From my point of view is that it's not as effective as we'd like it to be, it's certainly far more effective than not being vaccinated," said Devine.
And that vaccine, is currently offered for free from LFHD.
To schedule your appointment at your local LFHD office, visit their Community Health webpage or call the Winchester-Frederick district office at: (540) 722-3470.
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