INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana health officials investigating a surge in whooping cough cases are urging Hoosiers to take precautions to avoid the highly contagious bacterial infection.

The Indiana State Department of Health said Thursday that it’s confirmed 136 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, during the first half of 2017. That’s more than double the 66 cases recorded during the same period last year.

While pertussis can be treated with antibiotics, it can be prevented with vaccines.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams says Hoosiers should get vaccinated and follow proper coughing etiquette and handwashing practices to avoid spreading and contracting the illness, which is especially dangerous for babies.

Whooping cough is usually spread by coughing or sneezing. It causes a severe cough that can last for months.