2 states report whooping cough outbreaks

Areas of Minnesota and New Mexico are in the midst of pertussis, or whooping cough, outbreaks, according to their departments of public health.

Minnesota public health officials reported to WCCO that there have been 36 confirmed cases in Olmsted County in the last six weeks. Olmsted County contains Rochester, where the Mayo Clinic is located. The number of cases jumps to 76 when confirmed, probable and suspected whooping cough cases are included.

In New Mexico, officials have recorded seven confirmed and probable cases of the illness and 11 more suspected cases in San Juan County, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

"We suddenly have a fairly large number of suspected cases," David Selvage, a physician assistant and infectious disease epidemiology bureau chief, told the paper.

Whooping cough cases appear to be on the rise across the country, according to CDC data. In 2014, there were 32,971 confirmed cases of pertussis reported to the agency, a 15 percent increase from 2013.

Last year, California experienced a major whooping cough outbreak, consisting of 9,935 cases reported in the state from Jan. 1 to Nov. 26. Officials from the state's department of public health blamed the epidemic on fewer people receiving the whooping cough vaccine.

Pertussis can be a serious illness in babies, children, teens and adults, according to the CDC. The agency says the most effective way to prevent whooping cough is through vaccination.

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