Cases of whooping cough are on the rise according to the San Diego county Health and Human Services Agency. And with more reported cases in Alberta, Canada as well, the illness known as pertussis is making a comeback.
According to a report on Yahoo News, “Alberta Health Services says there’s been 34 confirmed cases of whooping cough so far this year in the southern part of the province and more may be unreported.”
And according to KPBS.org, “Nearly 200 cases of the disease that’s also known as whooping cough have been logged so far this year [in San Diego] — nearly halfway to the total for all of 2013, which was 430, according to the HHSA.”
For many, this indicates a possible epidemic on the horizon for a disease that’s both highly contagious and easily treatable. For those unaware of the symptoms related to the illness WebMD describes whooping cough in the following way:
“Whooping cough is a disease that causes very severe coughing that may last for months. You can cough so hard that you hurt a rib. Whooping cough is contagious. This means it spreads easily from one person to another. You can prevent whooping cough by getting shots, called vaccines, that protect you from the disease.”
But even with vaccinations, doctors say many are still susceptible to the disease, especially young children. And many adults who have gotten vaccinations in the past have to be careful in case too much time has elapsed from the time they were last vaccinated to now.
According to Dr. Jeannine Hogg of Baptist Healthcare, as quoted through an article on WREG in Memphis‘s web site, “[Vaccinations] start wearing off in adults, so it you’re gonna be around people at high risk, a new baby, it’s a recommendation for people with close contact to have them re-vaccinated for pertussis.”
Of course, re-vaccinations for whooping cough are only effective if the individuals were ever vaccinated in the first place. As previously reported by Inquistr, a study in California showed that in 2010, a refusal to get vaccinated for the illness lead to a resurgence in cases of pertussis. In fact, CDC.gov reported over 27,000 cases in 2010 alone and CBS News reported that, “researchers have linked parents not vaccinating their children for whopping cough to outbreaks of the disease that occurred in 2010 in California.”
In the end, as with most treatable diseases like whooping cough, prevention is always the best medicine.