The number of cases of pertussis — also known as whooping cough — is on track to match a 50-year high, and that has prompted an advisory by health officials calling for vaccinations to help combat the potentially deadly disease. The Gulf Coast region has seen an increase in the disease that affects the respiratory system, but the numbers are less than in North Texas, said UTMB’s Dr. O.W. “Skip” Brown, a pediatrician and interim chief medical officer. [Note: Paid subscription required. Contact for more information.]