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Whooping cough, West Nile make an arrival

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By Associated Press

SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico has reported 57 cases of whooping cough so far this year, 13 more than last year at this time.

The state’s health department also reported two cases of West Nile.

The total cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, include confirmed and probable cases. No deaths from whooping cough have been reported in the last couple of years.

But Joan Baumbach, who is medical epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health, said people should be aware.

Pertussis is a highly infectious respiratory-tract illness that is more likely to kill children under 4 months of age.

It’s caused by bacteria and occurs year-round. People who have coughs that cannot be associated to something such as a cold should be tested.

The New Mexico Department of Health said a 67-year-old woman  from San Juan County has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus infection. The woman was hospitalized with neurological symptoms, the more severe clinical form of West Nile Virus. A 47-year-old woman from Doña Ana County also had a positive West Nile Virus test when she donated blood. If you have these symptoms, you should see your health care provider.

 “It’s important to remember that older adults are more susceptible to developing serious complications from West Nile Virus, and they need to be especially careful to avoid mosquito bites,” said the Department of Health’s State Epidemiologist C. Mack Sewell.

New Mexico typically sees most of its West Nile cases in August and September.