FILE - This Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 file photo shows an empty bottle of Tetanus, Diphthera and Pertussis, (whooping cough) vaccine at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, Calif. Health officials say the U.S. is on track to have the worst year for whooping cough in more than five decades. Nearly 18,000 cases have been reported so far - more than twice the number seen at this point last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, July 19, 2012. At this pace, the number of whooping cough cases will surpass every year since 1959. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Several cases of whooping cough have been reported in central Nebraska.
Two Rivers Public Health Department in Holdrege has reported three cases in central Nebraska. So far, state health officials say, 69 cases have been confirmed this year in Nebraska.
There has been a spike in cases across the country this year, with nearly 18,000 cases so far, and health officials say this is shaping up to be the worst national epidemic in more than 50 years for the highly contagious disease.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is highly contagious and is spread when infected people cough or sneeze. It starts like the common cold, but can progress into violent coughing spells and can last for weeks.