It looks like Calhoun County could soon have a whooping cough outbreak.

The Calhoun County Health Department had initially said on Monday that they had two cases of the contagious disease pertussis in the past week, and on Thursday they now say are finding more and more cases.

Pertussis is a bacterial disease of the respiratory tract that causes severe coughing which may result in a distinctive “whooping” sound when breathing in, hence the nickname. If a person is experiencing symptoms including a persistent cough that is so violent occasional vomiting or loss of breath occurs, you are encouraged by the health department to seek immediate medical attention.

Whooping cough can infect anyone exposed to droplets from an infected person’s mouth or nose; it usually occurs after "repeated indoor face-to-face contact". Those who are infected are encouraged to stay out of public spaces, and avoid contact with pregnant women and infants. Healthy adults should be able to recover from the condition, but it can be fatal, particularly to infants.

The CCHD says the best way to avoid exposure is to get the vaccine. More information can be found at cdc.gov/pertussis.