Statewide epidemic slows, but whooping cough lingers

November 20, 2012

By Staff

The number of whooping cough cases reported in Washington is easing — with some areas returning to levels more typical before the epidemic — but state health officials said whooping cough is still active.

The epidemic included more than 4,500 reported whooping cough, or pertussis, cases — the highest number of cases in more than 70 years.

Pertussis is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The disease is most serious for infants, especially children too young to receive the vaccination. Pertussis causes cold-like systems followed by a long, severe cough.

Officials urge vaccinations and other prevention measures to stop the spread of pertussis. The vaccine against the disease is called Tdap.

State health officials encouraged adults to get vaccinated, especially adults that come into contact with babies.

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