Washington’s whooping cough epidemic grows

New numbers released by the Washington State Department of Health show that the state’s whooping cough epidemic is only continuing to grow.

Last year there were 146 reported cases in the first five months; this year the count is already up to 1,738.

The DOH has said the rate of disease is highest among infants under a year old, while 10-13-year-olds are the second highest.

The state declared an epidemic in early April, allowing more vaccines to become available.

King County has had 258 cases this year. Skagit County has been hit the hardest with 343 cases.

Health officials have said the actual number of cases may be higher, as not all cases have likely been reported yet.

The diseases is highly contagious, and after flu-like symptoms a severe cough develops. Vaccines are encouraged. Most drugstores, including pharmacies at grocers, have the vaccine. There are plenty available on Mercer Island.


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