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Thirteen Additional Whooping Cough Cases Reported This Week

— Thirteen new cases of whooping cough in children and teens around San Diego County were reported this week, county health officials announced today.

The latest cases were in patients aged 3 to 14, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

So far this year, there have been 875 confirmed cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, locally, according to the HHSA. That surpasses the previous high of 371 cases set in 2005.

Two infants have died locally this year as a result of the disease, which has been declared an epidemic in California.

County health officials urged residents to get themselves and their children vaccinated against the disease.

"Vaccinations are the best protection against this highly contagious disease," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "However, people can also help to prevent the spread of this illness by covering their coughs and going to see their doctor if they think they might

have pertussis."

Pertussis typically starts with a cough and runny nose for up to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound.

The illness, which might include a mild fever, is treatable with antibiotics.

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