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updated: 12/27/2012 7:50 AM

Whooping cough hits Wisconsin hard this year

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- The whooping cough hit Wisconsin residents hard this year.

According to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, there were nearly 5,700 confirmed and probable cases as of Dec. 14. During 2011, nearly 1,200 cases were reported.

Wisconsin has the nation's highest rate of whooping cough cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says through Nov. 23, the disease occurred in more than 93 of 100,000 people in Wisconsin. That's more than eight times the national rate.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. For adults, it may seem like a bad cold. But, for infants it can potentially be deadly.

It's the most in Wisconsin since 2004 when more than 5,600 cases were reported.

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