From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I'm Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.
Whooping cough is a common and serious threat to young infants; even children and adults.
Tami Skoff is an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Someone with whooping cough may have a cough that lasts for weeks or months. They can cough violently and rapidly, over and over – gasping for air between bouts of coughing; this is what makes the "whooping" sound." (14 seconds)
In infants and children, it can be easily prevented with a vaccine, called DTaP.
"The vaccine is given to children in a series of five shots, starting when a child is two months old and ending with a booster shot before the child begins elementary school." (9 seconds)
For teens and adults, a booster shot of Tdap is recommended.
Several states have reported an increased number of whooping cough cases this year.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
I'm Nicholas Garlow.
Last revised: May 7, 2011