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State health officials say 189 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, were reported statewide in the first half of the year. That's more than double the same period last year.
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection of the nose and throat that causes severe coughing spells. It's highly contagious and the Virginia Department of Health says it poses a particular threat to infants and very young children who haven't yet received the full series of vaccines.
One factor that could be contributing to this year's increase, experts say, is that over time the effectiveness of the childhood vaccine wanes and a booster may be required.