As was reported in this story, cases of whooping cough in Louisiana have already beaten last year's total of 160, as 169 cases have been confirmed by state health officials. So, how does it begin? What are the symptoms? Dr. Frank Welch says the symptoms are similar to a typical cold:

People may have headache, runny nose, cough, and then in about two weeks, they start to have a really heavy cough.

While, in adults, whooping cough may not be "too bad" according to Dr. Welch, he recommends a booster shot, known as the Tdap booster shot, for those who are around children, especially young ones. "In babies it can be very, very serious," says Dr. Welch. "They estimate that about half of very young children, I'm talking those less than one year, less than two years old, about half of those children will have to go visit the doctor or the hospital, and unfortunately, one in one hundred very young children who get whooping cough will die."

Fortunately, in Louisiana, there have been no deaths from whooping cough. But, nationwide, there have been five deaths.