ATLANTA — Whooping cough, once a deadly disease to U.S. children, has become rare and antiquated, thanks to a vaccine that drove the number of cases down, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The disease never went away, however, and there has been a significant spike in cases, with nearly 18,000 cases reported so far this year, more than twice the number reported at the same time last year, the article stated.
According to the article, the startling increase has health officials claiming that we could be looking at the worst national epidemic in more than 50 years.
Wisconsin and Washington each have reported more than 3,000 cases, while high numbers have also been seen in a number of other states, including New York, Minnesota, Kansas and Arizona.
Parents should ensure that their child is up-to-date with the whooping cough, or pertussis, vaccine in order to have full protection against the disease, the article noted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends adults, especially pregnant women, who will be around small children, should get a booster shot of the vaccine in order to avoid spreading the disease to infants too young for the first dose of the vaccine, which is given at two months, the article added.
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