Whooping Cough Cases Decline In Washington And Oregon

Whooping cough is on the decline in the Pacific Northwest, with some health officials attributing the drop to immunization efforts.

According to The News Tribune, by mid-July of this year, there were 419 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, in Washington state — down considerably from the same period in 2012 when 3,237 cases were reported.

The report continued on to say that state health officials say 14 Washington counties have reported no pertussis at all this year.

Oregon had 910 cases in 2012, but, through July of this year, only 314 cases had been reported, according to state health officials.

The Inquisitr recently reported on the rise in whooping cough cases in Texas.

Cases of whooping cough in Texas reached the highest level the state has seen in 50 years. The state has also seen two deaths from infants who were too young to be vaccinated.

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a warning in light of the outbreak, urging people to get vaccinated against the bacterial infection.

Michele M. Larsen of the March of Dimes Greater Oregon Chapter said families need to continue their vigilance about the pertussis vaccine for infants and adults even as the numbers are decreasing.

“Newborns are unprotected and it is very serious for infants if they come down with whopping cough,” Larsen said.

Elizabeth Vaughn, epidemiologist for the Cowlitz County Health Department, attributed the decline in local pertussis cases to an aggressive immunization program according to The Daily News.

The disease caused thousands of fatalities every year — particularly among young children — until vaccinations became available in the 1940s.

The adult booster shot for pertussis, called the Tdap, has only been available since 2005, so fewer than one in 10 adults are considered adequately immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whooping caught is often mild or undetectable in adult sufferers but can be deadly in children and young adults.

Even though the number of cases in Washington and Oregon have gone down, the March of Dimes and other health organizations are still recommending that people get vaccinated for whooping cough, especially pregnant women.

[Image via Shutterstock/Juriah Mosin]