Published: Apr 25, 2012 6:07 PM EDT

Health officials in Tampa say adults are likely unknowingly responsible for an outbreak of whooping cough. A spike in the disease is being seen nationwide.

One local pediatrician blames the old method of physicians only vaccinating for pertussis before the age of five with no additional boosters. As more cases have been reported in the last five to ten years, more boosters have been given out. Despite that, the trend has still been an upward swing.Since January 1st, there have been 35 cases of pertussis in Hillsborough County alone, that's about a third of the cases diagnosed in Florida so far this year.

It's most dangerous for children in the first year of life. It can cause apnea, which can make the child stop breathing. In some instances there have even been deaths reported from pertussis.

Health experts also recommend booster shots for adults who expect to be around young children, including pregnant women.

Antibiotics can treat the illness, but children often cough for six to eight weeks.