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West Nile Virus, Whooping Cough Cases Increase

West Nile Virus has been all the rage the past couple months, and with good reason.  As of last week, 48 states have reported West Nile infections in nearly two thousand people.  That's the highest number of cases since 1999.  But health officials say West Nile isn't the only health concern this year.
    State of Texas health officials are now reporting the highest number of West Nile Virus cases ever: more than 1,000 cumulative cases through the first week of September.
    But West Nile isn't the only health risk officials are urging you to take precautions against.
    They're encouraging everyone to get vaccinated for Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough.
    Debbie Cox, who's with community relations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, says, "Whooping Cough is on track to become the most severe in over half a century.  In fact, we've already seen twice as many cases in Texas as we did this time last year."
    The Texas Department of State Health Services reports six deaths and more than 1,000 cases of Whooping Cough so far this year.
    Officials also say to get your flu vaccine because the flu is expected to hit early again this year and cost more to treat.
    "Parents should, when they take their children in to get immunized, they should also ask about getting themselves immunized.  As we get older, our immunities wear down, and adults are 100 times more likely to die from vaccine preventable diseases than children," Cox says.
    The average out-of-pocket treatment for flu symptoms in the state was $83 last year, which is $5 more than the year before.
    Health officials say many people often times don't take the flu as seriously as they should.
    They say everyone age six months and older should get a flu shot each year.
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