Aspirus Wausau Hospital warns patients of whooping cough exposure

Patients and staff at Aspirus Wausau (Wis.) Hospital have been exposed to whooping cough.

The infection appears to have spread after a person with whooping cough came to the hospital. An Aspirus spokesperson did not note whether the infected person was a patient, staff member or visitor, according to the Wausau Daily Herald.

Aspirus officials are getting in touch will all those who might have been exposed to the infection and is offering testing, treatment and guidance to them.

This isn't the first time this year Wausau has dealt with pertussis: earlier this month, a case of whooping cough broke out at Wausau East High School, according to an earlier report by the Wausau Daily Herald. Additionally, Pepin County in Wisconsin reported 72 confirmed cases of whooping cough in August, due to an outbreak that started earlier in the year.

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease, according to the CDC. Infected people usually spread the disease to other people "by coughing or sneezing or when spending a lot of time near one another where you share breathing space." Those infected are most contagious up until two weeks after the whooping cough begins. There are an estimated 16 million cases of pertussis and about 195,000 deaths per year across the globe. During 2014, 32,971 cases of pertussis were reported to CDC, a 15 percent increase from 2013.

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