The Centers for Disease Control says nationwide doctors treated more cases in 2012 alone than in the previous 60 years.
Whooping cough is very contagious and can cause serious illness.
Doctors say it starts like the common cold, with a runny nose, congestion, sneezing and maybe a mild cough or fever, but after 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing can begin.
"So what we are recommending is that people schedule a visit to get their health maintenance exam, they are up to date with their pertussis shot," says Dr. Dirk Haselow from the Arkansas Department of Health.
Pregnant women, the elderly and children are the most vulnerable.