CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia health officials are encouraging state residents to get immunized against whooping cough to prevent an epidemic like the one that has hit Washington state.
Officials say there’ve been 60 investigated cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in West Virginia so far this year.
In contrast, more than 3,000 confirmed cases were reported in Washington through June 30. In April, that state’s health department declared a pertussis epidemic.
Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department tells The Charleston Gazette that if it can happen in Washington, it can happen in West Virginia.
Pertussis is a contagious disease spread through coughing and sneezing while in close contact with other people. Federal health officials say it’s one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases in the country.