The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning parents that this year might be record-setting for how many American children are infected with pertussis, or whooping cough. Both adults and children are urged to make sure their vaccinations are up to date to avoid the disease. From MSNBC.com:
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection best known for causing a deep cough in children. They cough so long and so hard that when they can finally catch a breath, they make a distinctive "whoop" sound on the intake. So far this year, the United States has seen more than 16,000 validated cases of whooping cough, said Stacey Martin, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That's more than the 15,216 cases reported last year. The latest peak was 27,550 cases in 2010, when it killed 27 people, 25 of them babies.
"We are on track to have a record year, I think," Martin said in a telephone interview.
Image: Child coughing, via Shutterstock.