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Nurses Fatima Guillen, left, and Fran Wendt, right, give Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, a whooping cough booster shot at a health clinic in Tacoma, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

NEW YORK (AP) — As the U.S. wrestles with its biggest whooping cough outbreak in decades, researchers appear to have zeroed in on the main cause: The safer vaccine that was introduced in the 1990s loses effectiveness much faster than previously thought.

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