Whooping cough cases on the rise nationwide

While California faces one of its worst whooping cough outbreaks in 50 years, New York, Indiana and Oregon have seen cases of the disease steadily increase, worrying public health officials.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, was recently declared an epidemic in California after the number of cases rose by 400 percent in 2010 and resulted in five deaths.

Upstate New York, reports, has had 127 cases of whooping cough reported to the Centers for Disease Control this year. For all of 2009, 252 cases of the disease were reported in the state. For the year, there has been a 58 percent increase of reported pertussis cases in upstate New York since the same point last year.

According to, there have been 23 reported cases of whooping cough in Oregon this year, up from an average of 10 to 11 cases a year. Indiana, which saw a total of 400 pertussis cases lat year, has had 130 cases reported so far this year as well as one confirmed death from the disease.

Whooping cough can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults. Symptoms of the disease begin like the common cold, manifesting as runny noses or congestion, sneezing, mild coughs of fever. After one to two weeks, however, severe coughing begins.

The disease takes its name from the series of violent and rapid coughs it can cause the clear the lungs from air, forcing those with the disease to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound.