Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has been spreading throughout Washington state this year. More than 1,100 cases have been reported in 2012 — about 10 times as many as at the same time last year. Experts predict the number of cases could exceed 3,000 by the end of the year. The epidemic has gotten so bad that the Center for Disease Control has been called in to investigate.
Meanwhile, the disease has also begun to spread in Oregon. Over the weekend, Riverdale School District in southwest Portland announced two students and a staff member had been diagnosed with pertussis. As of last week, Oregon had 149 confirmed cases of whooping cough.
What’s causing the spread of whooping cough in the Pacific Northwest? What can you do to prevent its spread?