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Updated Mar 20, 2013 - 2:47 pm

Whooping cough outbreak reported in Arizona

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. -- There's an outbreak of whooping cough in northwestern Arizona's Mohave County.

County officials said Tuesday that a few pertussis cases have been confirmed in the Kingman, Colorado City, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu areas.

"Pertussis is always a concern for us statewide, regardless of where there are outbreaks," said Jessica Rigler with the Arizona Department of Health Services. "It's a highly contagious disease."

There have been 114 confirmed cases in the Colorado City area with 16 new cases in the last two weeks. Statewide, including those in Colorado City, there have been 209 confirmed cases.

"We've been seeing the numbers slowly increase year over year," said Rigler, adding that the state is due for a "big outbreak of pertussis."

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease that if not treated properly can be deadly for children, especially newborns.

The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination with DTaP for infants and children and with Tdap for preteens, teens and adults.

Protection from the childhood vaccine fades over time requiring re-vaccination in adulthood.

KTAR's Sandra Haros contributed to this report.

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