Minnesota pertussis outbreak slowing

Public health officials in Minnesota recently announced that an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the state is beginning to slow.

The Minnesota Department of Health said that nearly 200 new cases of the once common childhood illness were confirmed in the past two weeks, but that equals the same number seen in just one week in mid-September, according to

Claudia Miller, a section manager at MDH, said that the drop in confirmed cases is a good sign that the situation is continuing to improve.

"On a day-to-day basis we're receiving somewhat fewer reports than we were over the past couple of months," Miller said, reports.

Miller also said that the disease will continue to circulate in the community for some time.

"We're still at what we would consider epidemic levels, so we've got a long way to go," Miller said, according to "Hopefully we'll see a more dramatic decrease in the not-too-distant future."

Minnesota has reported 3,700 whooping cough cases so far this year and MDH considers the outbreak to be the worst the state has seen since the 1940s, before the development of a vaccine. Approximately three-quarters of the cases have been in those who were previously vaccinated, raising questions about the effectiveness of the immunization.