OLYMPIA — The state Health Department reports the number of whooping cough cases in Washington this year has topped 3,000.
At this time last year there were only about 200 cases.
The department says the disease also known as pertussis has been reported in nearly every county in the state, but Skagit has the highest rate.
Whooping cough is most common in children and most dangerous for infants. Vaccinations are the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Health Secretary Mary Selecky declared the epidemic in April, and since then the vaccine has been made available for people who don’t have insurance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans a briefing Thursday on the epidemic in Washington.