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1824–26: Pulmonary epidemic hits Hawai‘i

An epidemic that is suspected to be whooping cough kills thousands of Native Hawaiians.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is an extremely contagious bacterial respiratory tract infection that causes uncontrollable coughing. Patients often make a deep “whooping” sound when they try to inhale. Infants suffering from whooping cough often choke.


Medical prescription for Queen Ka‘ahumanu, regent and a wife of King Kamehameha I.

Courtesy Hawai‘i State Archives