Seven outbreaks of whooping cough, or pertussis, have hit Virginia this year.
The Thomas Jefferson Health District has not seen an outbreak this year, but reports 11 people have come down with the illness. That number is down from last year at this time, when the health district reported 16 people.
As of June 30, state health officials say there were 189 cases statewide. That's more than double the 87 cases from last year at this time. The up and down numbers are common.
"They say it's kind of a cyclical disease, where over a couple years period of time you'll see numbers going down and then the numbers will start creeping up again, over the next couple of years, then you have a big spike and that can last two to three years," said Elizabeth Davies with the Thomas Jefferson Health District.
Infants up to two months of age are most susceptible to whooping cough, but adults can get it too. Epidemiologist Jonathan Falk with the Central Shenandoah Health District says the pertussis vaccine's effectiveness wanes about five to 10 years after it's received.