The number of whooping cough cases in California has now reached epidemic status, according to state public health officials. In the last two weeks, 800 new cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, have been reported, and in San Bernardino County, 43 cases have been reported so far this year, compared to 7 at this time last year. Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection, and infants are most at risk of contracting pertussis, which is spread by coughing or sneezing. The Department of Public Health recommends that all pregnant women be vaccinated with the TDAP vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. In addition, all adults, such as fathers, grandparents, and babysitters, should be immunized. Babies should be immunized at six weeks. Anyone with a persistent cough should see a doctor. Whooping cough can be fatal in young babies, but symptoms are generally milder in adults. Pertussis is treated with antibiotics.