2012 Whooping Cough Levels at Epidemic Proportions
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that incidences of whooping cough in the USA have risen to levels not seen in the past 50 years.
More than 18,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of 2012, resulting in 9 deaths.
“That’s really on track to be a record, since the 1940s and we’re seeing similar increases in most states around the country and we’re probably on track to have another record year in 2012,” said Dr. Thomas Clark of the Centers for Disease Control.
Two states, Wisconsin and Washington State, have been particularly hard hit, with Washington declaring the disease an epidemic.
Whooping cough is a contageous disease that causes uncontrollable coughing and is most likely to strike children under the age of 12 months.
The LA Times reports:
About half the cases this year are in infants under the age of 3 months — not surprising because they are too young to have been vaccinated. Protection of such children relies on vaccination of pregnant women and others who will come into contact with the infants and, unfortunately, the rates of such vaccinations are not as high as they could be. But an unusually high number of the new cases are among teenagers ages 13 and 14, a group that would normally not be expected to contract the bacterium at such a rate. That suggests, Schuchat said, that the effectiveness of the vaccine is waning a few years after vaccination.
Parents are being urged to get their children started on a series of vaccinations at the age of 2 months.
CBS News reports, the CDC is urging all adults to and especially pregnant women get vaccinated because otherwise these infants and children who are too young to get vaccinated can get infected from adults.
To find an immunization clinic, contact your provider or local health agency.