SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is launching a public awareness campaign to curb the growing number of whooping cough cases in the state.
The Health Department says more than 700 cases have been reported so far this year. That's up from 277 the year before.
Two children — a 2-month-old girl from San Miguel County and a 4-year-old boy from Bernalillo County — have died this year as a result of whooping cough.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial illness that attacks the respiratory system.
State Epidemiologist Michael Landen says many adults don't even know they have it and then pass it on to children. He says getting vaccinated is the best protection.
The awareness campaign includes billboards around the state and a television public service announcement in Spanish.