Whooping cough epidemic continues



The statewide whooping cough epidemic continues to spread, bringing the total number of cases up to nearly 1,500.

From Jan. 1 through May 12, health officials have confirmed 1,484 cases of whooping cough. That compares to just 134 cases during the same 19 weeks in 2011.

In Clark County, case numbers are rising as well. As of Tuesday morning, health officials have confirmed 112 cases this year compared to 19 during the same time period in 2011.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is an illness spread through respiratory secretions such as coughing and sneezing. State and local health officials encourage vaccination to prevent its spread.

The state recommends children receive five doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine, commonly known as DTaP, before age 7. Adolescents (ages 11 to 18) and adults (ages 19 to 64) should receive a tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis booster, commonly known as Tdap, according to state recommendations.