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Wash state expecting epidemic pertussis outbreak

More than 1,100 cases of whooping cough have already been diagnosed this year in Washington state, nearly doubling the number seen in typical "peak" years.

Washington state is gearing up for one of the worst epidemics of pertussis in nearly seven decades. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes a a nasty and often severe cough. It is particularly dangerous for young infants.

Public health officials have confirmed more than 1,100 cases of whooping cough so far this year in Washington state. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported from this year's outbreak but 20 infants have been hospitalized already with the illness.

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