Health officials warn of whooping cough, norovirus


County health officials are warning about two different health hazards emerging in the county in the past week.

The Marathon County Health Department on Friday issued a warning that an outbreak of whooping cough has been identified in Athens, with several people contracting it. Symptoms of the affliction include mild cold-like conditions with a mild cough that eventually transitions into coughing fits that cause a person to make a whooping sound, as well as vomiting. 

Those who contract whooping cough, known scientifically as Pertussis, are advised to stay home from work or school and see a doctor for treatment. 

And health department officials say they found high concentrations of norovirus in the Wausau area’s wastewater. They say the concentrations in Wausau are some of the highest in the nation, according to County Health Officer Laura Scudiere. 

Symptoms of the highly contagious disease include “diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain” according to a release from the health department. Those who contract the disease should stay home from work or school including two days after symptoms arise as the disease is highly contagious. 

Health officials discovered the high levels of norovirus thanks to a program called Wastewater Scan, which is a collaboration between Wausau Waterworks and the Marathon County Health Department.