Washington State Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic

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While Idaho health officials are expressing caution following the whooping cough death of a 9-week-old Idaho girl, Washington state officials have declared an epidemic of the highly contagious disease. It's the first state to declare a pertusis epidemic since 2010, when California had more than 9,000 cases. Year to date, Washington has reported 1,280 cases and, according to the Associated Press, "officials believe the state could see as many as 2,000 cases by year's end."

Washington officials have asked hospitals to vaccinate every adult who goes home with a new baby, and urged businesses to encourage their workers to get an adult booster shot. The state has also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send a special team of investigators and a federal epidemiologist to Washington.

Earlier this week, Idaho health officials confirmed that a 9-week-old Idaho girl was treated for pertussis at a Pocatello hospital on May 2 before being transported to a Salt Lake City hospital, where she later died. Since January, 31 cases of whooping cough have been officially reported in Idaho. The last infant death in Idaho from the disease was in 2009.