The United States is seeing the worst Pertussis activity in the last three to four decades and Spokane County is also following that trend with more confirmed reports.

Health officials say it's important to get vaccinated now as with the start of the school year rapidly approaching this epidemic could get even worse.

Last year, the Spokane Regional Health District saw about five to eight cases of Pertussis or whooping cough as it is commonly called, a week. Last week they reported 14 cases.

Health officials say the increase could be due to added awareness as well as the spread of the virus during summer activities involving groups of people.

"We want to really encourage people to be aware, do everything you can, get vaccinated and if you do have a cough illness talk to your doctor about that," Mark Springer with the Spokane Regional Health District said.

Vaccinations are recommended for everyone, children along with high risk adults including pregnant or nursing woman are advised to get vaccinated.

So far this year seven people have been hospitalized in Spokane County; no deaths have been reported. Statewide, Washington has seen more whooping cough cases this year than any time in the last six decades.

TDAP shots are readily available and there is help for low income families.