WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- Pertussis, better known as "whooping cough" is on pace to have a record setting year. According to statistics from the CDC, 16,181 cases have been reported as of June 30 of this year. Last year during the same period, 7,764 cases were reported.
More than twice as many cases were reported this year so far. The last peak year for the US was in 2010 with 27,550 reported cases and 27 deaths for the year.
Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease, but it is very contagious. If untreated it can cause serious illness and even death.
Alison Patti of the CDC tells us in an email, "Vaccines are the safest and most effective tool we have for preventing pertussis. Infants and young children need their recommended five shots of DTaP for maximum protection."
According to the CDC, 95% of children, 69% of teens and only 8% of adults are up to date on pertussis vaccines. Pregnant women, when vaccinated, provide protective antibodies to infants.
Patti says in the email, "We also want to vaccinate everyone else who will be caring for the infant, creating a circle of protection. This includes dads, grandparents, older siblings, nannies, childcare workers, etc."
There have been several regional outbreakes across the country this year, the closest locally in Southwestern Virginia.