California Health Officials Declare Whooping Cough Epidemic

The number of whooping-cough cases in California is now at an epidemic level, state health officials said Friday.

More than 800 whooping-cough cases were reported over the past two weeks, suggesting that the infection, which is also known as pertussis, is spreading rapidly, according to a statement by the California Department of Public Health.

As of June 10, there were 3,458 reported cases — more than in all of 2013. There have been two reported infant deaths.

The infection is cyclical and peaks every three to five years, officials said. The previous whooping-cough peak was in 2010, when an epidemic struck 9,159 people and killed 10 infants in the state.