March 24, 2009

Whooping cough spreading in Japan

Whooping cough is on the rise in Japan, with 775 cases reported already this year, health officials said.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases said cases are up 30 percent from the same period last year, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Tuesday.

Health officials say more cases are expected into early summer. A total of 6,749 cases were reported last year, more than double the 2,926 cases reported in 2007. The report said 1,358 contracted the disease in 2005.

The increased number of cases has been fueled by a growing number adults with whooping cough over the past decade. Last year 36.7 percent of whooping cough patients were aged 20 or over.