Maine public health officials say the number of confirmed whooping cough cases in the state continues to grow as the age of those affected also rises. Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, says most cases early this year were in children, but now an increasing number of adults over 40 are coming down with the contagious disease, also known as pertussis. She tells the Morning Sentinel, there have been 347 confirmed cases of whooping cough in Maine since January. There were just 79 cases at the same time last year. Of confirmed cases statewide, 26 were in people over 40. Whooping cough is a respiratory disease that can cause long, violent coughing fits and the characteristic whooping sound that follows when a person gasps.