Whooping Cough epidemic could be worst in 50 years

FRESNO, Calif.

Five infants have already died, including one from Fresno County. This year, more than 900 cases have been confirmed throughout the state. That's four times the amount the state saw in the same period last year. Fresno County has identified 253 cases alone.

Children's Hospital Central California in Madera County has seen 130 cases of Whooping Cough since the beginning of the year. 56 have required hospitalization. Infants and toddlers are especially at risk so parents and caregivers are also being urged to get vaccinated. "If we keep on this pace, we could pass the highest number of cases we've seen in 50 years. We hope not to break that record, especially with the tools we have in this community. We want to avoid that," said David Luchini with the Fresno County Health Department.

/*Whooping Cough*/ tends to peak in cycles. But this year could be especially dangerous. "This is something we see every three, four, or five years. Back in 2005, we had several hundred cases, but why they consider it an epidemic now is we have a vaccine for teenagers and adults that we didn't have five years ago," said Luchini.

Vaccines are available for babies as young as two years old. Adults who were vaccinated as children may require boosters.

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