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Whooping Cough Cases Increase in Vermont

The Vermont Health Department says cases of whooping cough are increasing in the state.

The state says there have been 201 confirmed cases this year, with 68 of them reported from June 1 through Aug. 8. No deaths have been reported.

Three infants have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable whooping cough, also called pertussis, since June 1.

Whooping cough is highly contagious. The infection usually starts with an irritating cough that worsens to include spasms of coughing, possibly whooping. The most severe cases usually involve young children. Infants may show symptoms of gagging or difficulty breathing.

The last widespread outbreak of pertussis in Vermont happened in 1996-1997. A total of 280 cases were identified in 1996, including 171 in school-aged children. In 1997, there were 283 cases.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.