Whooping Cough Epidemics Not Close To An End

Raluca Coman

Written by Raluca Coman
Posted in: Health
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The whooping cough epidemics continues in California where have already been found 5,658  confirmed  and suspected cases.
Researchers are saying that this is the biggest epidemics since 1950, when 6,613 were recorded. Ten percent of the cases which were recorded in the hospital were also admitted to a health care clinic, and most of these cases occurred in infants younger than 6 months, most of them Hispanic. Nine babies have died because of the whooping cough, most of them under the age of two months when the vaccination for the pertussis begins, and out of them eight were Hispanic, which shows that this epidemics has a predilection for this ethnic group. This information is confirmed by the study made on deaths since 1998. The first signs of whooping cough appeared in April, but it was not until June when it was declared an epidemic by the CDPH , which is now running a campaign of vaccination.

Hospitals have developed a booster dose, which is usually administered around the age of 11, but is suitable for anyone over 7 including adults. This is a type of vaccine that pregnant women can also use and it is recommended that everyone which is in contact with women carrying a child or with young babies should go and get one of these vaccines. Part of this campaign,  CDPH has provided free vaccines to the hospitals, community health centers, Native American health centers, and local health departments and they started handing out informative materials to the public, which explain the disease and the importance of getting a vaccine. Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Diego, says that there are no signs that the epidemic is close to an end, and he says that the pertussis is a cyclic disease, and every 2 to 5 years it bursts out harder, possible because of the climate and the decreasing immunity of the individuals. The last peak of this epidemics was in 2005, when 3,182 cases were reported, 574 ended up in the hospital and eight died.

Doctors are recommending a booster dose, but there is no information on how the dose actually lasts, because children receive the vaccine during kindergarten, but they lose protection since the start of middle school. Sawyer says that it is very probable that there will be recommendations of periodic boosters, possibly one in 10 years, but by now, people should make sure that they take precaution measures by themselves, especially if there is a baby in the house, and immediately go to the doctor if they start coughing and continue to cough for seven or more days.11

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