whooping cough

Kansas appears on track for a quiet year for pertussis cases after two years marked by outbreaks.

As of mid-April, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had recorded eight cases of pertussis. There were 412 cases in 2014 and 431 cases in 2015, meaning the state is likely to have fewer cases this year unless a major outbreak hits in the next few months.


  An outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the Hutchinson area continues to spread. The Reno County Health Department is investigating more than 70 cases.

So far, 46 of those cases have been confirmed as pertussis. Most of them involve school-age children. The highly contagious disease is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Mònica Prats Castellví / Flickr--CC

Health officials in Reno County, Kansas, are trying to bring an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, under control.

The outbreak began in mid-May with three cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease. Now there are 23 reported cases, according to the Reno County Health Department, in Hutchinson. As of June 2, 134 cases of pertussis had been reported in Kansas this year.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service


Even as local health officials prepare for the unlikely event of an Ebola outbreak in Kansas, some have had their hands full trying to convince people in their communities to take basic measures to contain the spread of more prevalent, contagious and preventable diseases like measles and pertussis.

Kansas has seen spikes in both illnesses this year, leading some health officials to issue orders of quarantine and others to ask people to voluntarily stay home.

Those requests were not always well-received.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Area health officials are cautioning that whooping cough, which notably broke out in Johnson County this past spring, continues to be a problem throughout the Kansas City region. 

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Johnson County, Kansas is in the midst of a whooping cough outbreak. It's not as bad as in Washington State, where they’ve declared an epidemic of the disease.  But health workers and schools in the region have been taking extra steps to get a handle on the disease.