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Infant Dies Of Whooping Cough In San Joaquin County

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

This Sept. 19, 2011 file photo shows an empty bottle of Tetanus, Diphthera and Pertussis, (whooping cough) vaccine at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, Calif.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Alvaro Garza is the public health officer in San Joaquin County. He says it's heartbreaking to care for infants with whooping cough. 

"You see babies two, three, four months or a little bit older. They're coughing and they just can't catch their breath."

Pertussis comes in cycles of three to five years. The last statewide epidemic was in 2010. That's why Garza recommends that people keep their immunization up to date.

"If adults are going to be around babies, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, ect... should make sure they have had a what's called a Tdap which includes pertussis." 

There were about 450 cases reported in Sacramento County last year. That's up from 70 cases the year before.