Pertussis, also known as "Whooping Cough", has reached epidemic levels in Washington State. So far in 2012, 897 cases have been reported between January 1st-April 14th. Clark County has reported 83 cases.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected. It causes cold-like symptoms followed by a long, severe cough that can last for weeks. Adolescents and adults often get a much milder case of whooping cough, but they can still spread it. Infants can die from the disease.
State and local health officials encourage vaccination to prevent the spread of the illness. The state recommends children receive five doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine, commonly known as DTaP, before age 7. Adolescents (ages 11 to 18) and adults (ages 19 to 64) should receive a tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis booster, commonly known as Tdap.
See the Clark County Public Health website for more information about the disease and recommendations on vaccinations.