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Posted on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Whooping cough epidemic coursing throughout U.S.; California reports 10 deaths

By Juliana Keeping

Washtenaw County isn’t isolated in its epidemic-level uptick in whooping cough cases.

Epidemiologists around the state of Michigan first saw an increase in pertussis in 2008, according to the CDC. There were 902 reported cases in 2009.

Cities throughout the nation have been hit hard with a rise in pertussis, the scientific name for the upper respiratory tract illness. It’s called whooping cough due to the “whoop” sound those with the infection make when they cough.

But California has it the worst. Between January and Nov. 16, California has seen 6,700 cases of whooping cough. Ten infants have died from the disease.

According to a CNN blog, California is in the midst of the worst whooping cough crisis in 60 years.

Time Magazine reported the whooping cough epidemic is hitting Latino babies the hardest, possibly due to the tight-knit families that traditionally live with more people per household. That arrangement may expose babies to unvaccinated aunts, uncles and grandparents.

The CDC points out many cases go unreported.

Read our story for more information on symptoms and information on the local cases.

And for an over view, visit the CDC website.

Juliana Keeping is a health and environment reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter