According to a statement by the state Department of Public Health, California is on track to outpace last year's number of whooping cough cases and reach a possible 50-year high: The outbreak has officially been deemed an epidemic. Two infants have died in the county so far this year.
“Whopping cough is now an epidemic in California,” Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health said in a statement.
California has a recorded 910 cases of whopping cough, a four-fold increase from the same period lat year. Five infants, all under three months of age, have died from the disease this year. Local health departments are investigating another 600 possible cases of the cough.
Though the disease is cyclical and peaks in the summer months, health officials have seen three times as many cases as expected for this time of the year, according to KTLA News. The disease peaks about every five years.
Most children get five doses of the vaccine before kindergarten. A booster dose of the vaccine is recommended for people between ages of 11 and 18. These vaccines, however, do not provide lifetime immunity.