All but eradicated in the United States thanks to vaccines, Pertussis - commonly known as Whooping Cough - is seeing cases at "epidemic levels" this fall.

Here's what you need to know.

  • WHAT IS IT:  Pertussis is a bacterial disease that is highly contagious.
  • WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS:  Severe cough, sometimes followed by vomiting.  Whooping Cough gets it's name from the "whooping" sound that is made when someone takes a breath in between coughs.  The disease starts lightly with symptoms that resemble a light-grade respiratory infection.  The sneezing, runny nose, and mild coughing eventually give way to severe coughing spells.
  • WHAT CAN YOU DO IT PREVENT IT:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests vaccination.  They also recommend booster shots for those that have been vaccinated already.

CDC officials say that the United States is experiencing the worst outbreak of Pertussis in over 50 years.  Since July, approximately 22,000 cases have been reported.

Some source material for this article came from Wikipedia.