State confirms 400 whooping cough cases in past month

Minnesota's number of whooping cough cases continues to grow. The state confirmed about 400 new cases of whooping cough in the past month, raising the total in Minnesota to nearly 2,400 infections this year. The number of confirmed cases is the highest since vaccines were introduced in the 1950s.
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The state confirmed about 400 new cases of whooping cough in the past month, raising the total in Minnesota to nearly 2,400 infections this year, the Star Tribune reports. The number of confirmed cases is the highest since vaccines were introduced in the 1950s.

The number of cases so far this year is nearly 900 more than the previous state record. The Pioneer Press reports the record -- 1,571 cases set in 2005 -- was broken in June.

While Minnesota has had a rough year with the disease, neighboring Wisconsin tops the nation in whooping cough cases, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

Whooping cough is medically known as pertussis. The Centers for Disease Control says pertussis "is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe."

After suffering from fits of many coughs, a person infected with pertussis often needs to take deep breathes -- resulting in a "whooping" sound, the CDC says.

The CDC discusses how the disease is caused and how it is transmitted, and offers tips on how to prevent it on its web site. The disease can be potentially fatal in infants.

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