Ninety cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, have been reported in South Dakota since the beginning of the year, the highest number of reported cases since 2014 when the state had 109. According to the South Dakota Department of Health, the counties with the most cases include Edmunds (19), Brown (15), Minnehaha (13) and Hughes (12).
Whooping cough is highly contagious and is spread through the air by the cough of an infected person. Antibiotics are used to treat the disease, which is most serious for babies under six months of age and the elderly.
Immunization for whooping cough is critical in the prevention of the disease. The vaccine is given in a series of doses starting at the age of two months. Because immunity wanes over time, a booster dose is recommended for adolescents and for adults.