With the addition of 777 pertussis cases since July 8, the whooping cough epidemic in California has reached 6,170, according to the latest data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Public domain image/National Atlas of the United States
Public domain image/National Atlas of the United States

The  rate of pertussis in the state is at 16.2 cases per 100,000 population, health officials note, as pertussis activity remains widespread throughout California. Los Angeles County has reported the most cases at 1,000.  In 2013, California reported 2,532 cases over the course of the year.

176 cases required hospitalization for their illness, with 20 percent of that total ending up requiring intensive care treatment. One death has been reported with disease onset in 2014, while two others died in 2014; however, the onset of illness was in 2013.

Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis

Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans and is spread from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria.

The best way to prevent it is through vaccinations. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP. The whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both DTaP and Tdap protect against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.