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Health, Science and Technology

Whooping cough cases surge in California

The State of California is seeing a surge in the number of pertussis—or whooping cough—cases reported this year.

Statewide there have been 2,649 cases reported since January, already surpassing the 2,530 seen in California for all of 2013.  This year's outbreak has already claimed one child, a 2 month-old infant.

On the Central Coast, Monterey County is seeing a spike inline with the rest of the state, but the numbers are not as severe for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

"This year is a pretty normal year for pertussis," said Doctor Ann McDowell, epidemiologist for the SLO County Public Health Department. "We're not seeing a tremendous increase, or even a greater-than-normal increase in cases, but we're always worried about pertussis because it impacts young newborn infants the most."

Doctor McDowell recommend vaccinations for pregnant women as a way to protect the baby.