Increased Cases of Whooping Cough
- Fiona Collins
- Aug 13, 2012
Whooping cough is on the increase and is already at its highest level in more than 5 years, with more than 21,000 cases of whooping cough reported in the United States by August 4 this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that multiple strains of B. pertussis are involved in the current outbreak.
Some States are disproportionately affected by the current outbreak, including Washington, Iowa, Wisconsin and Vermont. In Washington State, the Health Department has reported that the epidemic has so far resulted in more than 2,000 confirmed cases as of mid-June, with more than seven percent of these cases in infants under one year of age and with hospitalization of just under a quarter of these infants - mainly younger infants. A few decades ago, I contracted whooping cough as 3-month old so this information hits home on a personal level.
One misperception about this disease is that it is a disease of infants and children. Whooping cough, however, is a disease of infants, children and adults. Symptoms include bouts of severe coughing that are sufficient to cause you to have difficulty breathing, and a classical sign is the 'whoop' that follows.
Vaccination with the Tdap vaccine is being recommended to help prevent the spread of this highly transmissible disease.