- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California health officials say an infant has died from whooping cough, a highly contagious disease.

It’s the first confirmed death since 2010 when an epidemic killed 10 infants in the state.

The latest victim was an infant less than 6 months old from Riverside County. The California Department of Public Health said Friday that whooping cough tends to peak every three to five years.

Whooping cough starts with cold-like symptoms and can progress to severe coughing fits that leave people gasping for breath.

Also Friday, state health officials said there have been 202 confirmed flu deaths so far this season, including four deaths involving babies. An additional 41 deaths are under investigation as possibly flu-related.

Officials urged residents to get immunized for the flu and whooping cough.

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