Whooping cough epidemic slowing down

SEATTLE — State health officials say the whooping cough epidemic is slowing down but the disease has not left Washington.

Health Secretary Mary Selecky says Washington adults and teens should continue to update their immunity by getting booster shots so that babies who are still building their immunity do not get exposed to the serious illness.

This year, Washington has seen the most cases of whooping cough in more than 70 years. More than 4,500 cases have been reported so far in 2012.

In Snohomish County 544 adults and children have been diagnosed with whooping cough this year, according to the Snohomish Health District. Ten people have been hospitalized, most of whom were babies, a year old or younger.

Some areas of the state are still seeing high numbers while others have slowed to pre-epidemic levels.

The number of people getting their booster shots has also increased this year.

Health officials say booster shots will stop the disease from spreading again as families gather for the holidays.

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