Whooping cough is still on the rise in McHenry County.
As of Friday, 121 cases were confirmed in residents age 3 months to 37 years. That's up from about 80 cases a couple of weeks ago.
Debra Quackenbush, the McHenry County Department of Health community information coordinator, said the outbreak is now countywide, effecting people beyond school walls.
"People don't take it as seriously," said Quackenbush.
Whooping cough cases previously tended to target children. But cases in McHenry County first reported at Cary-Grove High School have grown. Cases have been reported at McHenry County College as well.
Characterized by mild to intense inflammation of the respiratory tract, whooping cough is highly contagious and transmitted through the air. While symptoms can be mistaken for a cold, at least at first, it then progresses to very severe coughing with that distinctive whooping sound.
Quakenbush said can lead to complications like pneumonia, encephalitis, or pulmonary hypertension. None of the reported causes have required hospitalization.
Children should receive vaccinations between ages four to six and another around age 11when the shot begins to wane, said Quakenbush.
Everyone is advised to use precautions like washing hands and covering mouths when coughing. Also, patients should stay home when sick.
McHenry County Department of Health will hold a walk-in vaccination clinic from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dec.1 at McHenry County College, 8900 Northwest Hwy in Crystal Lake.