AUSTIN (September 3, 2013)--The number of people sick with whooping cough statewide is on track to reach the highest level in Texas in more than a half century, the Department of State Health Services said Tuesday.
"This is extremely concerning. If cases continue to be diagnosed at the current rate, we will see the most Texas cases since the 1950s," said Dr. Lisa Cornelius, DSHS infectious diseases medical officer.
"Pertussis is highly infectious and can cause serious complications, especially in babies, so people should take it seriously."
The agency urged residents to make sure they are vaccinated against the highly contagious disease that causes a severe cough.
Almost 2,000 cases have been reported so far this year, and the annual total is likely to surpass the recent high of 3,358 cases in 2009.
Two infants have died from whooping cough this year, both of whom were too young to be vaccinated.
Whooping cough spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes.
While infants are most at risk, people of all ages can get whooping cough.