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Whooping cough returns, CDC says get vaccinated
07.20.2012If diagnoses of whooping cough keep piling up at their current rate, this will be the biggest year for the disease in the U.S. since 1959, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has recorded nearly 18,000 cases - double the amount reported at this time in 2011 - since the beginning of this year. The CDC strongly encourages people, especially pregnant women and anyone who's going to be near infants, to undergo vaccinations to ensure they won't require emergency medicine for whooping cough.
"My biggest concern is for the babies. They're the ones who get hit the hardest," Washington state health department chief Mary Selecky told the Associated Press. According to the CDC, Washington has been especially impacted. In July of 2011, a little more than 200 instances of whooping cough had been reported in the state. This year, more than 3,000 individuals in Washington have come down with whooping cough.
Since the outbreak began, nine children passed away from the highly contagious bacterial disease, also called pertussis. Symptoms to look out for are fairly obvious: excessive coughing that can produce the disease's eponymous "whoop," and coughing until it causes vomiting.
Once thought of as a medical antiquity, whooping cough caught California off guard as recently as 2010. A CNN news report states that outbreak killed at least 10 children.
Between 250,000 and 300,000 Americans a year were treated for whooping cough in the 1930s. Vaccinations seemed to have eliminated it by the 1960s, but it re-emerged in the mid-2000s. Experts told the Associated Press that they don't know why whooping cough is back, but they theorize that the bacteria may have evolved, or perhaps the vaccine is not as effective as previously thought.
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