Wisconsin dealing with outbreaks of whooping cough

The Associated Press

Wisconsin dealing with outbreaks of whooping cough

By The Associated Press. CREATED May 8, 2012

MILWAUKEE- Wisconsin is dealing with a rising number of cases of whooping cough this year.

Statewide the number of cases is 10 times the number reported this time last year.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Beth Kaplan tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the state is facing "widespread outbreaks" of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Nearly 1,900 confirmed and probable cases have been reported statewide so far this year. Kaplan says that compares with 158 for the same period a year ago.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that is dangerous for infants. It causes uncontrollable, violent coughing.

The state health department says one infant with pertussis died in Wisconsin in February.

Pertussis outbreaks are cyclical. Vaccination is the most effective prevention.