LOS ANGELES (AP) — Twice as many cases of whooping cough have been diagnosed this year in California as compared to the last peak year in 2005.

State health officials say more than 6,400 cases of the highly contagious illness have been reported this year, including 10 infant deaths. Five years ago the state reported nearly 3,200 cases.

The 10 babies who died this year were too young to be fully immunized. That’s why health officials are urging parents and caretakers to get booster shots to create a cocoon of immunity around vulnerable children.

Also known as pertussis, the illness has symptoms similar to the common cold. A persistent cough that lasts weeks is a telltale symptom.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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