LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The number of whooping cough cases in the Southland and throughout California has reached epidemic proportions, state health officials said Friday.
The California Department of Public Health said in a statement released Friday that more than 800 cases of pertussis have been reported over the past two weeks. As of June 10, there have been 3,458 cases of whooping cough — more than in all of 2013.
KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports health officials say more than 85 percent of those who have contracted pertussis all had preventative shots.
“The vaccine, while it’s very effective when it’s obtained following the first year, each year thereafter, the effectiveness decreases,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten with San Diego County Health and Human Services. “That’s why we’re seeing the infections.”
However, the number of overall pertussis cases would increase dramatically statewide if fewer people had been vaccinated, Wooten added.
The infection is cyclical and peaks every three to five years. In 2010, a whooping cough epidemic killed 10 infants in the state.
Infants are most susceptible to the disease, so parents are encouraged to vaccinate their children as soon as possible. This year, two infant deaths have been reported.
Whooping cough begins with cold-like symptoms and can progress to severe coughing fits.
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