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Respiratory Health

Whooping cough outbreak in Tampa area

Health officials in Tampa say adults are probably unknowingly responsible for an outbreak of whooping cough.

Since Jan. 1, there have been 35 cases of pertussis -- also called whooping cough -- reported in Hillsborough County. The Florida Department of Health has reported 112 cases in Florida this year.

The Tampa Tribune reports the Hillsborough cases came from seven families.

A Hillsborough County Health Department spokesman says in one case an adult infected six children who did not have vaccinations.

Officials say the illness starts with a low grade fever, runny nose, sneezing and a cough. Antibiotics can treat the illness, but children often cough for six to eight weeks.

Health experts recommend booster shots for adults who expect to be around young children.