Your Family

Jun 23, 2010 3:41 PM by Carina Corral

Whooping cough declared a statewide epidemic

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is declared an epidemic in California.

State Health Officials said it is on pace to break a 50-year record for infections and deaths for the year.

910 cases have been reported in the state and five babies have died.

In San Luis Obispo County, 140 cases have been reported this year, compared to just two for all of 2009.

Santa Barbara County is not seeing an outbreak as it is reporting just five cases this year, compared to 35 last year.

Still, the public health department's deputy director warns an increase in cases is likely.

"We're not special. If it's happening statewide, it'll likely happen here," said Michele Mickiewicz.

Children should be vaccinated against the disease and parents, caregivers and infants need a booster shot.

Symptoms are a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed rapid coughing fits.

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