The Wyoming Department of Health has seen a sharp increase in Whooping Cough (Pertussis) caes in the state over the last few months.

Spokeswoman Kim Deti said 63 Whooping Cough (Pertussis) cases have been reported to WDH so far this year, compared to a total of 59 in 2012, 13 in 2011 and 14 in 2010. She said a high percentage of this year’s cases have been reported over the last two months and actual case numbers are likely higher because many cases are not identified as Whooping Cough (Pertussis) and others may not be reported to the department.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) typically begins with cold-like symptoms and perhaps a mild cough and is often not suspected or diagnosed until a persistent cough with spasms sets in after one to two weeks.

Deti said the most severe danger is for babies. More than half of infants less than 1 year of age who become ill with Whooping Cough (Pertussis) must be hospitalized; in some cases it can be deadly. Whooping Cough (Pertussis) is considered a vaccine-preventable disease; about half of Wyoming’s cases this year involved children who had not been vaccinated.