Illness Impacts Oklahomans

Oklahoma City, OK – Whooping cough outbreak affects 66 Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma health officials are encouraging people to get whooping cough vaccinations during what federal officials say is the worst outbreak of the disease in 50 years.

Health officials say 66 Oklahomans have caught whooping cough and Laurence Burnsed, the state Health Department's communicable disease division director, tells The Oklahoman they're keeping an eye on bordering states like Texas, where more than 2,000 cases have been reported.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious illness. It has symptoms similar to the common cold, but a persistent cough lasting for weeks is an indicator of the illness. It was a leading cause of illness and death in children in the first half of the 20th century.

Oklahoma's last significant outbreak occurred in 1983, when about 300 cases were reported.


Information from: The Oklahoman,

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.