Whooping cough can happen to infants, school children or adults.

CDC: Americans should prepare for whooping cough outbreak or epidemic

In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between January and April, hospitals and doctor offices in the United States have seen a 24 percent increase in pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Across the country, 24 states have reported an increase of cases of babies, adolescents and adults, prompting many health care facilities to implement a business continuity plan to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak or epidemic.

It has been less than two months since the CDC released these findings and it appears their concerns have become a reality. What makes whooping cough a tricky illness is that patients have to go through six rounds of shots to be considered vaccinated and the medication doesn't guarantee lifelong immunity, the Los Angeles times explained.

The Golden State is in the midst of an epidemic, one that is expected to surpass the number of cases the 2010 epidemic saw.

Women who are in their third trimester are told to get the Tdap vaccine because the medication can be transferred to the baby. Otherwise, infants will have to wait until they are six weeks old to begin their own vaccination process. Seeing how children three months or younger are the most susceptible to die from whooping cough, this precaution can be a life-saving decision.

However, babies aren't the only ones that can contract the disease. The CDC reports that children ages 7 through 10 are the second-largest group of people who die from whooping cough. In Maine, the whooping cough problem is occurring among elementary and high school students.

Maine's CDC division released a health advisory last month, asking parents who are sending their children to camp this summer to begin the vaccination process, so an outbreak doesn't occur, according to reports from the Bangor Daily News.

All it takes is a cough or sneeze, so businesses and local governments alike should have an action plan in place. If California area medical facilities had to respond to more than 800 cases within a two-week period, other states should be able to do the same.

Business continuity consultants can help health professionals develop a business continuity plan that suits the needs of residents and visitors. As more Americans begin to travel to other parts of the world this summer, this domestic problem needs to be under control.