Public health officials are warning Santa Cruz County residents of a recent uptick in whooping cough cases.
The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency reports that there have been 66 confirmed whooping cough cases since Sept. 1.
“The number of local pertussis (whooping cough) cases has increased dramatically in recent months,” health officials said in a news release.
Most of the cases came from school outbreaks, according to the release.
Officials didn’t say how many cases of the highly contagious illness were reported before Sept. 1.
Officials are working with schools, families and clinicians to stop outbreaks and prevent more from happening, according to the news release.
People can protect themselves from the illness by getting a whooping cough vaccine, according to the release. People should also wash their hands, sneeze into their elbows and stay home from work or school if they’re sick.
The symptoms of whooping cough are often confused with the common cold at first. Violent coughing can start a week to two weeks after the cold symptoms. The illness is treated with antibiotics.