Health authorities on the Pacific Island of Guam say the pertussis, or whooping cough outbreak has reached 11 cases to date.

Guam map Image/CIA
Guam map
Image/CIA

This comes after the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received three additional laboratory confirmed cases of the vaccine-preventable disease in a 9 month old child, 3 year old child, and 41 year old adult.

Investigation into the newest cases show no epidemiological linkage with each other or previous reported cases.

Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis.

Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans and is spread from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the diseaseby coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease, according to the CDC.  Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5–10 days after being exposed, but sometimes not for as long as 3 weeks.

Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. This extreme coughing can cause you to throw up and be very tired. The “whoop” is often not there and the infection is generally milder (less severe) in teens and adults, especially those who have been vaccinated.

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among infants, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep infants and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people.

In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for infants and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.