Provo • Whooping cough cases have doubled in Utah County this year, and public health officials are concerned there could be more as the school year begins.

KUTV-TV reports 70 whooping cough cases have been confirmed so far this year.

It's twice as many cases as those reported during the same time period last year.

Lisa Guerra with the Utah County Health Department is not sure exactly what contributed to the increase, but says it's likely some of the patients aren't immunized.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is very contagious.

Guerra says the number of cases is expected to grow now that students are back in class.

Young children and babies are more susceptible to whooping cough than adults and can experience more severe symptoms and even die in worse cases.