CROSS LANES, WV (WOWK) – Nearly two dozen cases of walking pneumonia have been reported during the last four weeks at a school in Kanawha County, according to the Kanawha Charleston Health Department. 

Kanawha County Schools said they’ve been working with the health department to track an uptick of the respiratory illness at Andrew Jackson Middle School.

“I’ve seen cases like this for years,” said Dr. Steven Eshenaur with KCHD. “We typically see these really pop up in the fall and throughout the winter. So, if you’re feeling ill or sick, make sure you’re getting yourself evaluated.”

Vanessa Mcbride told 13 News her 11-year-old son was one of the 23 cases reported at the school. She said he spent over a week recovering but was able to return to school on Tuesday.

“The cough with that virus was the worst cough I’ve ever seen like he couldn’t even catch his breath he coughed so bad and so hard,” she said. “Yesterday was his first day back to school. He said he did great, but he said several students were still coughing, and that freaks me out because my youngest son has severe asthma.”

Dr. Eshenaur said symptoms of walking pneumonia can include shortness of breath, coughing and a fever. While those symptoms can last for about one to two weeks, he said it rarely causes hospitalization and can be treated with antibiotics.

“Many people may only have mild symptoms,” he said. “They think they may have a cold or bronchitis case, and it’s rarely one of those diseases that we see someone that has to be hospitalized from it.”

Kanawha County Schools said there are protocols in place when an outbreak occurs such as increasing cleaning of the school, promoting hand washing and if it is related to a group activity or sport that would be canceled for a period of time to promote health and wellness of students and staff.