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The State Department of Health is issuing another warning about a soaring whooping cough epidemic across the state.

The Department says the number of cases reported so far this year surpasses the total number of cases reported for all of last year. More than 1,000 cases have been reported so far this year. That's the highest number of whooping cough cases since 2005.

Health officials say at this pace, the state could surpass 3,000 cases for the year - something that hasn't happened in 60 years.

The pertussis vaccine wears off over time, so health officials say all children ages 11-to-12 need to get vaccinated.

The Health Department says most health insurance carriers cover the whooping cough vaccine; adults should double check with their health plan. Whooping cough vaccines are available to all Washington children under 19 years old through health care provider offices participating in the state's Childhood Vaccine Program.

More information on whooping cough disease and who should be vaccinated is available at www.doh.wa.gov.

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