The U.S. is facing the worst whooping cough epidemic in 50 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention, NBC News reported. Nationwide nearly 18,000 cases have been reported to the CDC and the epidemic has killed nine babies so far. Babies are the most susceptible to the disease, also known as pertussis, said the CDC.
“We may need to go back to 1959 to find as many cases. I think there may be more coming to a place near you,” said CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat.
The best way to prevent babies from contracting the disease, which is caused by a bacterial infection, is to vaccinate adults and pregnant women so their babies are born with some immunity.
The last record year was 2010, when 27,000 cases were reported and 27 people died. In 1959, 40,000 cases were reported.