2012 worst year for whooping cough since 1950s

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2012 was the nation’s worst year for whooping cough in nearly six decades, health officials say.

42,000 cases were reported last year, the most since the 1950’s. 

North Carolina reported at least 179 cases in 2012.

Alamance County had the worst, with 129 cases.

Guilford, Forsyth and Randolph Counties also reported cases, though not as many.

Experts say last year appears to have been the peak for the disease.

Whooping cough deaths were down to 18 last year, due to faster diagnoses and better treatment of the disease.

Whooping cough was a nationwide epidemic, until a vaccine was developed in the 1940s.

NBC News contributed to this report.

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