Nevada warns of whooping cough

Officials from the Southern Nevada Health District, which includes the city of Las Vegas, urged that residents, particularly children, be immunized against pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

The warning comes as California faces an outbreak reaching epidemic proportions that has seen more than 900 people infected and five infant deaths.

"Being a neighbor state, we're obviously concerned about any spread of disease in Southern Nevada coupled with our low immunization rate we could have a serious problem with an outbreak here," Brian Labus, of the Southern Nevada Health District, said.

In June, reported that California had already reported 910 cases and had at least 600 suspected cases to investigate. Last year, the state confirmed only 200 cases. The Centers for Disease Control reported that overall national figures show a total of 5,120 cases this year in comparison to 6,236 confirmed last year, but, nonetheless, several states have reported increased activity, including Texas, with 1,154 cases, Ohio, with 523 cases, Michigan, with 380 cases, and Arizona, with 163 cases

Five infants in California, all under age of three, have succumbed to the illness. Newborns and infants are most vulnerable to pertussis. Infants and those who expect to be near infants should be immunized with the vaccine DTaP. According to the CDC, infants are often exposed to the epidemic by those who do not realize they carry it. Any adults and adolescents that were immunized as children should receive the vaccine again, as its effects can wane over time.