Healthy Living

Jun 16, 2014 2:18 PM by KSBY Staff and NBC News

Health officials: Whooping cough an epidemic in California

California health officials say the state is facing an epidemic of whooping cough.

There have been more than 3,400 reported cases and two deaths from the disease in California so far this year, and those numbers are expected to nearly triple by the end of the year.

Infants under six months old are most at risk for hospitalization or death from whooping cough, so doctors are urging parents to vaccinate their babies as soon as possible. Pregnant women should also be vaccinated during the third trimester to transfer immunity to their unborn children.

Symptoms of whooping cough include a brief period of runny nose and cough, which then turns more severe.

Whooping cough reaches epidemic levels every three to five years because the vaccine does not provide lifelong immunity, and booster shots are needed. The last whooping cough epidemic was in 2010.

According to the latest data from the California Department of Public Health, nine cases of whooping cough have been reported so far this year in San Luis Obispo County. There have been 13 cases in Santa Barbara County.

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