TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas health officials say the state has had 56 confirmed cases of whooping cough so far this year, four more than in all of 2011.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported the numbers Tuesday. Officials say KDHE and local agencies have investigated eight outbreaks since early 2011, including an ongoing outbreak in Johnson County.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It's especially serious for infants.
KDHE says inoculation is the best protection against whooping cough. The agency says the vaccination is recommended for children 2 months through 6 years old, with a one-time booster recommended for adolescents and adults.