Health

Whooping cough cases continue to decline in Calif.

A school nurse prepares a whooping cough vaccine before giving it to students at Mark Twain Middle School in Los Angeles.
A school nurse prepares a whooping cough vaccine before giving it to students at Mark Twain Middle School in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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The California Department of Public Health is reporting 477 new cases of whooping cough in the past two weeks, reflecting a continuation of a two-month decrease in the number of cases.

The new statewide total released Friday for 2014 is 7,980 cases. 

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, peaked in mid-June, when the number of new cases reached 1,100 over a two-week period. At that point state health officials said the overall number of cases had reached epidemic proportions. Since then the figure has dropped steadily.

So far this year, 267 people have been hospitalized and 169 were infants younger than four months old, according to the public health department. Babies are especially susceptible to whooping cough. Three babies have died of the disease this year.

Health Department officials stress that pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine during the third trimester.  The vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis until infants are old enough to receive it.