Whooping cough: Without booster vaccine, pre-teens at risk for lengthy, disruptive illness

Whooping cough—or pertussis—is a serious and very contagious respiratory disease that can cause long, violent coughing fits and the characteristic “whooping” sound that follows when a person gasps for air. Whooping cough has been on the rise in pre-teens and teens. In 2009, a quarter of the 16,858 cases of pertussis reported in the United States were among 10- through 19-year-olds.

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