Texas sees whooping cough cases rise

As California faces one of the state's worst whooping cough outbreaks in more than 50 years, which has resulted in six infant deaths and 1500 confirmed infections, Texas health department officials have now begun reporting increases in whooping cough infections statewide.

The biggest increase in infections, NBCDFW.com reports, is in central Texas, with more infections reported in Tarrant County in north Texas. Dallas County has not reported an increase in whooping cough cases. Numbers are not high enough yet to declare epidemic or outbreak status.

According to state health department statistics, the number of whooping cough cases has risen by almost 60 percent in the state since 2008. Investigators from the health department are closely monitoring all reported cases.

"It tends to occur in waves of every three to five years we see an increase in the number of cases now; the last rise was in 2005," Anita Kurian of the Tarrant County Health Department told NBCDFW.com.

Kurian recommends that children be vaccinated against whooping cough and that anyone who cares for an infant also receive a vaccination.

"The older people get, their immunity decreases, so it's important to get revaccinated with (a) shot called Tdap," Kurian told NBCDFW.com.

The whooping cough vaccination is usually administered in a combination shot that also provides protection against tetanus and diphtheria.