State Has No Whooping Cough Deaths for First Time in 20 Years
On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health announcedÂ that it recorded no deaths in the state from pertussis -- or whooping cough -- last year, the Los Angeles Times reports (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 1/25).
State health officials said it was the first year since 1991 that California did not have any fatalities stemming from the illness, which caused an epidemic in the state in 2010 (AP/Boston Globe, 1/25).
Details From DPH
According to DPH, there were 10 infant deaths in California from whooping cough in 2010, but no one died from the condition in 2011.
The number of diagnosed whooping cough cases also fell from 9,154 in 2010 to 2,795 in 2011 (Los Angeles Times, 1/25).
Factors in the Lower Death Rate
Gil Chavez -- a DPH epidemiologist and deputy director for infectious diseases -- said the drop in whooping cough deaths was the result of several initiatives, which included:
- A new law (AB 354) requiring pertussis booster shots for middle- and high-school students;
- More awareness about the disease;
- Quicker diagnosis; and
- Wider vaccine availability.
Outreach and vaccination efforts were targeted toward caregivers, families and individuals who were around infants younger than six months, who are not yet old enough to receive the full vaccine (Aleccia, "Vitals," MSNBC, 1/24).
David NuÃ±ez -- family health medical director for the Orange County Health Care Agency -- said that vaccination remains key to prevention (Perkes, Orange County Register, 1/24).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.