By Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Health officials say the number of cases of whooping cough in northern Kentucky has reached record levels recently.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department said in a news release Monday that since November, 184 cases of whooping cough have occurred in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties. That number surpasses the 2012 outbreak of 109 cases or the 2010 outbreak of 140 cases.

Epidemiologist Emmanuel Oga tells the Kentucky Enquirer ( ) that health officials aren’t sure why 60 percent of the recent cases are among people between the ages of 11 and 18.

Oga says possible causes for the outbreak among teenagers include the close confines of a school locker room or a sleepover party.

Officials say the highly contagious disease can be deadly to infants too young to have been fully vaccinated.

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