MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Health officials are urging Wisconsin residents to get vaccinated for whooping cough.
Wisconsin is seeing a widespread outbreak of whooping cough, or pertussis. The state has recorded more than 1,500 confirmed or probable cases so far.
State Health Officer Dr. Henry Anderson says vaccination continues to be the best defense against pertussis.
Officials note that children will need to be immunized for summer camps and other programs that start in the next few weeks.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease. It gets its name from the "whooping" sound people often make while gasping for air after a coughing fit.
Pertussis can begin like a cold but leads to severe coughing that can last for weeks. It can be fatal in rare cases.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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