Whooping cough cases continue to climb in Washington state

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With whooping cough cases continuing to climb in the state of Washington, local health officials recently encouraged residents to get vaccinated against the disease.

Since January, 319 whooping cough cases have been reported in the state. In contrast, there were just 49 whooping cough cases from January to April 2014.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, infects the respiratory system. The illness is spread by sneezing and coughing.

Newborn infants are at the highest risk for contracting the illness, as their immune systems have not yet fully developed.

The Washington State Department of Health said the Tdap vaccine may be the best way to prevent contracting the illness. It is especially important that pregnant women receive their vaccines.

After receiving the vaccine, people continue to be at risk for whooping cough for an additional two weeks. After that time, the vaccination may provide full protection.

“Women who are pregnant should be sure to talk to their health care provider, doctor, or midwife about getting their Tdap vaccine before they give birth,” Dr. Scott Lindquist, communicable disease epidemiologist for the state Department of Health, said. “It’s also important that everyone else in the family is vaccinated to keep babies safe.”

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Washington State Department of Health

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