Calif. Whooping Cough Levels Normal as Nation Sees Outbreak
The number of pertussis -- or whooping cough -- cases in California remain normal, despite an outbreak affecting other parts of the U.S., the Orange County Register's "Healthy Living" reports (Perkes, "Healthy Living," Orange County Register, 7/19).
In 2010, California had a record-breaking whooping cough epidemic. There were more than 9,100 reported cases of pertussis and 10 infant deaths stemming from the illness that year, marking 2010 as the worst year for whooping cough in the state since 1947.
As a result, state law now requires students entering grades seven through 12 to receive a whooping cough booster shot within 30 days of starting school, unless they submit a personal belief exemption (California Healthline, 9/13/11).
Details of the U.S. Outbreak
According to CDC, nearly 18,000 whooping cough cases have been reported so far this year, which is more than double the number of cases reported at this point last year. If whooping cough continues to be diagnosed at this rate, the number of cases will be the highest since 1959, when a total of 40,000 cases were reported (Stobbe, AP/Sacramento Bee, 7/19).
There have been nine deaths resulting from whooping cough so far this year, all of them infants (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 7/19).
Public health officials believe that the outbreak could be the result of a change in the whooping cough vaccine that might have made the shot safer but possibly not as effective.
Details of California Whooping Cough Cases
Kathleen Harriman -- an epidemiologist with the California Department of Health -- said, "We're very fortunate in 2012 to not be seeing what's being seen in many of the other states this year."
This year, DPH has recorded 400 cases of whooping cough statewide.
Harriman said she expects that number to reach no more than about 1,000 by the end of the year (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 7/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.