Whooping cough on the rise in Fresno

The number of whooping cough cases in Fresno, California, is on the rise, health officials have said, adding that a Fresno County infant died from the disease recently.

Thirty-five cases of whooping cough have already be reported this year, the Fresno County Health Department confirmed. An additional 20 whooping cough cases are under investigation. Fifteen confirmed cases have been tallied at Children's Hospital so far.

Whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, is a contagious respiratory illness. Often, children are infected by a family member. Whooping cough is often spread by contact with airborne discharge. Symptoms of whooping cough closely mirror the common cold, including a cough, runny nose or fever.

The incubation period for whooping cough is typically seven to 10 days. After approximately one to two weeks, coughing symptoms develop into uncontrollable fits, which may be followed by vomiting.

Infants under the age of six months are most vulnerable to whooping cough.

Young children under six months stop breathing, may turn blue or have seizures," Dr. David Pugatch told KFSN-TV.

Health officials have encouraged parents to get their newborn children born before leaving the hospital. A booster shot, health officials say, should be given if one hasn't been administered in the last five to 10 years.