Whooping Cough Epidemic: California Reports Outbreak, Deaths Blamed On Not Using Vaccine

Whooping Cough Epidemic: California Reports Outbreak, Deaths Blamed On Not Using Vaccine

A whooping cough epidemic has been declared in the state of California after 800 cases of whooping cough symptoms were reported within two weeks. To put this into perspective, the total of 3,458 cases of whooping cough reported since the beginning of 2014 is more than all the cases reported in 2013.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, as the number of cases whooping cough epidemic continue to rise, health agencies are warning that the whooping cough vaccine may not prevent people from spreading the virus, although they do say that prevention is the best medicine.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious disease, and cases of it are on the rise. The whooping cough symptoms vary by age, and a typical case usually starts with a cough and ends with a runny nose for one to two weeks. This cough then worsens, and younger people tend to have a rapid series of coughs that end with the infamous “whooping” sound that gives the disease its name. Detecting whooping cough symptoms in young infants is difficult since they may have no apparent cough, and instead the infant’s face turns red or purple. In adults, the whooping cough symptoms may be limited to coughing for several weeks.

Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, says the whooping cough epidemic in California says the disease is cyclical and last peaked in 2010, when 9,159 cases were reported. He’s also urging parents to use the whooping cough vaccine as soon as possible:

“Preventing severe disease and death in infants is our highest priority. We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated. We also urge parents to vaccinate infants as soon as possible.Unlike some other vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles, neither vaccination nor illness from pertussis offers lifetime immunity. However, vaccination is still the best defense against this potentially fatal disease.”

Stacey Martin, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of bacterial diseases, says the biggest demographic at risk in the whooping cough epidemic is newborns:

“Our biggest concern is always infants. There’s a gap in coverage between birth and the first vaccine.”

The CDC has recommended that pregnant women use the whooping cough vaccine since 2013, but so far two infants have died from the 2014 whooping cough epidemic. Martin also compared the number of cases throughout the United States, saying that 9,964 cases were reported throughout the nation through June 8, while in 2013 only 7,573 cases were reported during the same time period.