Washington’s whooping cough epidemic slows, but disease sticks around

The number of whooping cough cases reported in Washington is easing, with some areas of the state returning to levels more typical before the epidemic.

However, state health officials caution that whooping cough – or pertussis – is still active.

With more than 4,500 reported whooping cough cases so far this year, 2012 already has the highest number of cases in Washington in more than 70 years.

The state Department of Health and Welfare says some areas of the state are still dealing with high numbers while others are returning to levels closer to what they experienced before the epidemic. As overall case counts slow, health officials say it’s important to remember that whooping cough will always circulate at some level in the state.

The epidemic has increased people’s awareness of how serious whooping cough is, and driven more than twice as many adults in Washington to get their Tdap booster this year than last year.  (Washington Department of Health and Welfare)

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