Calls for CDC for help with state whooping cough epidemic

KING TV - Jake Whittenberg

Senator Maria Cantwell (D, Wash.) and state health officials plan to ask the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for assistance in controlling a whooping cough epidemic in Washington state.

Sen. Cantwell and State Health Secretary Mary Selecky will ask the CDC to send its special team of investigators and epidemiologists to help the state study and contain the disease.

Washington's Department of Health says the number of cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, in Washington is up to 1,132 since January 1 -- that’s ten times the number compared to last year.

Spokesperson Alison Patti says the CDC has been in touch with state health officials over the past few months, but this new invitation could likely mean sending a team in person to help develop new strategies of containment.

“They may also be asking for more programmatic support from CDC or someone to help come out with more vaccination campaigns,” Patti says. “We would act as support for state health officials.”

A whooping couch vaccination clinic will be held Saturday, May 12 at the Group Health Burien Medical Center from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.