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Updated Jul 30, 2013 - 7:05 am

Whooping cough on rise in Arizona

PHOENIX -- Arizona's top health official said a remote community long dominated by a polygamist sect is responsible for much of a recent increase in whooping cough in the state.

Department of Health Services Director Will Humble said Arizona has seen an increase of over 300 percent in the past several years.

Humble said many recent cases of whooping cough are part of an ongoing outbreak in the Colorado City area of the Arizona Strip, the part of northern Arizona located north of the Grand Canyon.

According to Humble, most of the Colorado City-area cases involve children and most either are unvaccinated or not up to date on their vaccinations.

Whooping cough is also known as pertussis. It's a highly contagious and potentially deadly respiratory disease associated with coughing fits.

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