GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-- The number of cases of whooping cough have spiked in recent years, not just in Wisconsin but across the nation.
It's an issue several local school districts have been dealing with.
The numbers from the state show just how sharp of an increase there has been in the past couple of years.
In 2010--there were 296 cases reported
In 2011---that number went up to 741
And this year so far they have had 599 cases of it---and one death from whopping cough.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services expects the number of cases in 2012 to far surpass the 2011 numbers.
Doctor Donald Beno from Aurora Health Care said it's not uncommon for parents to refuse to vaccinate their children, and it is something that has been a problem for years since it was thought by some that vaccinations caused autism but Beno says the study was disputed.
"This has been disproven with all doubt,"said Dr. Beno, "The numbers across the country have been increasing, the suspicion is unfortunately immunization rates across the country are not as good as they should be."
Though it isn't just people who haven't been vaccinated that are being diagnosed.
Pediatrician Tom Huffer with Prevea said another reason for the outbreak is that some vaccines, don't last as long.
"Historically the immunization would last 5 to 10 years, and there's been some questions about whether we can expect more like 3 to 6 year," said Dr. Huffer.
Both Beno and Huffer stress the seriousness of whooping cough or pertussis. Even today with vaccinations the disease still kills thousands.
"Last year, worldwide there was almost 300,000 deaths from pertussis," said Huffer.
Infants and school aged kids are usually the most susceptible to the disease. It's extremely contagious in the first few days and hard to diagnosis, because at first it's just like any other cold, before turning into a cough.
"It's a very distinctive cough, you hear about the hooping sound with the cough," said Dr. Huffer.
The only way to prevent whooping cough is vaccinations, something doctors recommend not just for kids, but everyone.
"Unfortunately no vaccines are 100 percent so unfortunately even vaccinated children can get this, but there symptoms are much less severe. so please seek immunization," said Dr. Beno.
Beno said as well as being a health problem it's an economic problem too as treatment for the Whooping Cough is costly.
Most county health departments offer immunizations at a low price. For information on Brown County's immunization program visit their website.