State Data Shows Calif. Approaching Record for Whooping Cough Cases
On Wednesday, the state Department of Public Health released data showing that California has seen the highest number of cases or whooping cough, or pertussis, since 1955, the Los Angeles Times reports.
As of Tuesday, California had reported 4,017 confirmed, probable and suspected whooping cough cases this year (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 9/17). In 1955, California recorded 4,949 cases, a number the state is on track to surpass.
California's whooping cough cases account for a significant portion of the 11,466 cases that CDC recorded nationwide this year (Mohajer, AP/Fresno Bee, 9/16).
Infants Most Susceptible
State health officials said infants have been most affected by the whooping cough outbreak. All nine pertussis-related deaths reported in the state this year have been among infants younger than three months old. Infants do not begin receiving vaccinations until they are two months old.
The state data released Wednesday show that infants younger than six months old accounted for 74% of the 196 patients hospitalized with whooping cough this year. Infants younger than three months oldÂ accounted forÂ 57% of those hospitalized.
State officials also provided demographic data showing that 77% of the hospitalized infants younger than six months old were Hispanic (Los Angeles Times, 9/17).
Call for Flu Vaccinations
Meanwhile, state epidemiologist Gilberto Chavez on Thursday recommended that all Californians older than six months obtain a vaccine for influenza. This year, the vaccine protects against the H1N1 flu strain, along with two other strains (Sacramento Bee, 9/16).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.