- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama residents are being warned that cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, are on the rise.

The Department of Public Health’s immunization division says 2016 saw 113 reported cases and thus far this year there have been 151 reported cases including multiple outbreaks in Calhoun and Chambers counties.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. It spreads through moisture droplets in the air, probably from coughs or sneezes. An infected person develops a severe cough that usually lasts four to six weeks.

Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said Monday pertussis affects all ages and can be deadly in infants under a year old.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated.

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