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Whooping cough outbreak hits Arizona
08.16.2012In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 2012 is on its way to having the most cases of whooping cough since 1959. The epidemic of the disease once thought of as largely eradicated by vaccinations has hit one of Arizona's most populated counties particularly hard.
As of August 15, a total of 508 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Maricopa County, Arizona, according to the Tucson Citizen. That's a more than 300 percent increase of cases of whooping cough than were recorded in that area during the first eight months of 2011. The county Department of Public Health told the news source that a third of the afflicted patients are infants.
"We can safely say we've been in an outbreak for well over a year," Jeanene Fowler of the Maricopa County DPH told the Citizen.
Thus far this year, 657 people have come down with whooping cough in Arizona. National, state and local officials strongly encourage everyone over the age of 10 in Maricopa County to get a booster shot, to help prevent the contagion from spreading, according to the news source. Quoting a spokesman from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the publication says individuals between the ages of 10 and 13 have gotten the worst of the whooping cough resurgence, and that it is especially important for pregnant women to get vaccinated in order to protect their baby. Vaccinations may be available at some immediate care facilities or institutions providing urgent care services.
Bacterial disease returns from obscurity
This outbreak of whooping cough, the highly contagious illness also called pertussis, infected almost 18,000 individuals in the United States this year, as of July 19, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. An official from the CDC told the WSJ that the epidemic may be due to the replacement of the traditional vaccination that had been used to eradicate the disease since the 1940s. In the 1990s, a preventive method that didn't cause as many side effects, but didn't last as long, became commonly used instead of the old shot.
The CDC reports that preteens, teens and adults who were vaccinated for whooping cough during their childhood need to do so again in order to protect themselves against the bacteria. Whooping cough causes weeks of violent coughing fits, and is particularly dangerous for young children.
Categories: Health and Wellness
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