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Women, seniors warned against whooping cough

July 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
As California's whooping cough epidemic continues to grow, health officials are urging women and seniors to get vaccinated.Department of Health officials said the number of whooping cough cases have climbed to 1,496 cases as of July 16 statewide. This figure is five times the number of cases logged the same time last year.

In 2010, five California residents have died from the disease. All were Latino babies under 3 months old who were too young to be immunized. Also, a sixth infant death is under investigation.

Typically, a case of whooping cough appears similar to a common cold up to approximately two weeks. This is followed by weeks or months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound.

Officials advise seniors and women in child-bearing years to get vaccinated.

AP contributed to this report.