Older people go to crowded places and can give the cough to the babies (AND YOUNG CHILDREN, TOO).

10th California Baby Dies of Whooping Cough

More than 5,270 cases of the highly contagious illness have been reported in California this year

10/20/10

Whooping Cough Epidemic: 10th Baby Dies in California Whooping Cough Epidemic – latimes.com

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — California health officials say a tenth baby has died of whooping cough in the state’s worst epidemic in 55 years.

The 6-week-old baby died last week after being treated at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

The infant had been born prematurely.

More than 5,270 cases of the highly-contagious illness have been reported in California this year. The previous record was set in 1955 when there were 4,949 cases reported.

All of the babies who have died were too young to be fully immunized against the disease, according to health officials.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious, cyclical illness that peaks in number of infections every five years.

The last peak occurred in 2005 when California reported 3,182 cases, with 574 hospitalizations and seven deaths.

The prevalence of the disease, also known as pertussis, peaks in the summer months, according to Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, but reporting lags make it difficult to determine if the peak has passed.

Jonathan Fielding, the county’s health director, urges parents and caretakers to get vaccinations to avoid any more deaths.

Most kids get five doses of the vaccine DTaP before kindergarten to prevent whooping cough, but those vaccines don’t immunize them for life.

Health officials say most kids are once again susceptible to the disease by middle school.

A booster dose of the vaccine is recommended for people between the ages of 11 and 18, as well as for people who have contact with infants.

A typical case starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks or months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound.

Fever is rare.

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Whooping Cough Cases Increase in California

The worst year for Whooping Cough cases since 1958

7/10/10

When you’ve heard it before, you recognize it immediately.

“The cough is very characteristic and often the old grandmoms are the only ones who remember it, but once you hear it you remember it,” according toDr. Lawrence Ross, Children’s Hospital L.A. Infectious Disease.

Whooping Cough is a highly contagious disease. A typical case starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks or months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound.

“Not everyone will whoop, and what we characterize after the cough is that after this bad cough episode individuals will vomit or turn blue or red in the face and young infants may just stop breathing entirely,” according to Dr. Lawrence Ross, CHLA Infectious Disease.

That’s why Whooping Cough is so dangerous for very young children. They can’t get immunized against it until they’re six weeks old, and it’s going around.

Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles has had 38 cases confirmed in their laboratory, which Doctor Ross says in extraordinary, and California is reporting a 500% increase in cases compared to last year.

Five babies have died in the state already this year.

State officials say this could be the worst year for Whooping Cough in half a century.

Immunization is the best defense, although since Whooping Cough is caused by a germ, not a virus, immunization is not a one shot deal.

“The problem is the vaccine’s effectiveness wears off after five to eight years, and you become susceptible to it. But the same thing happens even if you have the disease. If you had whooping cough as a child, years later you’re at risk of getting Whooping Cough again,” according to Dr. Lawrence Ross, CHLA Infectious Disease.

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