More Than 2,600 Whooping Cough Cases Reported in California
So far this year, 2,649 cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been reported in California -- more than all of the pertussis cases reported in the state in 2013, the California Department of Public Health reported Friday, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
Details of Outbreak
More than 800 cases were reported in California during April -- the highest number of cases reported in a single month since the 2010 outbreak (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/1).
In addition, two infants have died after being diagnosed with the illness -- the first whooping cough deaths in California since 2010 (California Healthline, 5/19).
Eighty-three percent of cases this year have occurred in individuals under 18 years of age.
Comments From Officials
Kathleen Harriman, chief of CDPH's vaccine-preventable disease epidemiology division, said, "This could be a peak year for pertussis in California."
Harriman said the illness is cyclical and this year's high rate of infections could be caused by:
- More individuals becoming susceptible to the illness;
- Vaccines becoming less effective; and
- Higher rates of unvaccinated individuals, either because they forego the vaccine or are too young to obtain it (Plevin, "KPCC News," KPCC, 5/30).