The threat of a highly contagious disease is on the rise in Washington.

Whooping cough can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.

According to the WA State Department of Health, more than 200 cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough was reported since mid-May. Only 24 cases were reported throughout the state in June of 2023.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious bacterial infection. Whooping cough spreads easily by coughing and sneezing and mainly affects the respiratory system (the organs that help you breathe, such as your lungs). Whooping cough can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.

What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

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The disease usually begins with cold-like symptoms or a cough that turns into severe coughing spells. The coughing spells can last 10 weeks or longer.

• Babies and young kids can have severe coughing spells that make it hard to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. Some babies may turn blue because they can't catch their breath. They may not cough at all but have life-threatening pauses in their breathing.

• Older kids and adults may only have a runny nose and low fever, followed by a persistent cough that can last for several weeks or months and is often worse at night.

Symptoms begin anywhere from 5 to 21 days after exposure to whooping cough.

Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics. Treatment should be started as soon as possible to keep from spreading the disease to others. Early treatent can make the symptoms end sooner and be less severe.

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Getting vaccinated is the best protection against whooping cough.

People of all ages should get a whooping cough vaccine. Which vaccine you need depends on your age. Vaccination is the best protection against whooping cough, and helps to reduce the risk to yourself, vulnerable infants, and pregnant women.

For more information, go here.

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