PHOENIX (FOX 10) – The case of whooping cough is back in the United States. Officially known as pertussis, a highly contagious respiratory infection causes a severe coughing attack that resembles the "whooping" sound.
Despite having a vaccine, health officials have seen a surge in the number of cases in recent decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were fewer than 2,000 cases in the US in the 1970s and 1980s, but that jumped to more than 48,000 cases in 2012. And while those numbers dropped from that peak, they were still not as low as when the vaccine available.
Pertussis study of Journal of the American Medical Association said unvaccinated children contributed to the outbreak.
"Pertussis (whooping cough) can cause serious illness in infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Symptoms of pertussis usually develop in five to 10 days after you are exposed. Sometimes the symptoms of pertussis do not develop for three weeks," according to the CDC.
Initial symptoms that can last from one to two weeks include: runny nose, mild fever, mild cough, and apnea.
After a week or two, advanced symptoms occur when the disease develops: a rapid cough is followed by a high-pitched scream, vomiting and fatigue.
The CDC recommends that infants receive DTaP, a series of injections with a combination vaccine, including pertussis, starting at the age of two months. This can help protect from three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
"It's important to know that many babies with pertussis don't cough at all. Instead it causes them to stop breathing and turn blue."
They also recommend that adults get a booster shot, called Tdap, every 10 years. It also contains protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Signs and symptoms of pertussis
Whooping Cough vaccination information