California had the highest number of cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in 60 years, despite the fact that it has a readily available vaccine. A new study in The Journal of Pediatrics describes that 2010 whooping cough epidemic and details strategies to decrease the incidence of this infection.
Some science education would be a good place to start. California has a strong anti-vaccine mentality, especially in coastal regions, and results showed much higher incidents of Whooping Cough in those areas, despite those being high income, well-educated communities.
Whooping cough is almost as contagious as measles, affecting ~12-17 individuals with each case, so clinicians are required to report cases of this bacterial respiratory tract infection to the state's department of public health. This gave Kathleen Winter, MPH, and colleagues from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) data on 9,154 cases of whooping cough with onset between January 1 and December 31, 2010; 809 cases were hospitalized and 10 resulted in death. All deaths and most of the hospitalized cases (62%) were in infants less than 3 months of age, and infants less than 6 months of age had the highest disease rates. In children and adolescents ages 1-18 years, Whites had the highest incidence.
Why the sudden resurgence? Infants receive 4 doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine by 18 months of age, and children should receive whooping cough "booster" doses at 4-6 years of age (DTaP) and 11-18 years of age (Tdap).
In response to the sharp increase of cases in 2010, CDPH implemented a public health campaign to distribute educational materials to health care providers and the public to stress the importance of rapid diagnosis and treatment, especially in young infants, under-immunized children 7-9 years old, and pregnant women, and provide free Tdap booster vaccines.
To decrease the occurrence of whooping cough in infants who are too young to be vaccinated, it is important to immunize household and family members who will be in close contact with the baby (a strategy known as "cocooning") and increase the immunity of the population as a whole to decrease infants' exposure to pertussis.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized the extreme vulnerability of young infants and recommended universal Tdap immunization for pregnant women (after the 20th week of gestation) who previously had not received Tdap. According to Winter, "In the absence of better vaccines, it is imperative that strategies to protect young infants directly, such as maternal vaccination during pregnancy, be evaluated for effectiveness. In addition, it is critical that providers continue to be vigilant and promptly diagnose and treat young infants with whooping cough."
The number of cases of whooping cough was elevated in pre-adolescents, even when they are fully vaccinated, indicating that protection from the 5-dose DTaP series may wane before the Tdap booster is given, though the decrease in cases of 11-14 year olds suggests that Tdap is effective for adolescents.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Great Earthquakes Doubled In The Most Recent 10 Year Period - What That Means
- What Americans Fear Most Isn't Ebola Or Terrorism, It's...
- ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC
- Why Climate 'Uncertainty' Is No Excuse For Doing Nothing
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- Dams Are Not The Smart Way To Secure Water For Agriculture
- Cosmic Rays Jeopardize Deep-Space Astronaut Missions
- "An interesting read, but perhaps not ideal for me to make one of my hot-headed comments right off..."
- "“I accept that if my child kicks lions, this will irritate them, but a range of factors will..."
- "Yes in fact it is free, I just looked it up in the Apple Store. Actually you have it backwards..."
- "You believe in every possibility? So you believe in gods and in an absence of gods, all at the..."
- " Actually no, the millions of volts of potential energy is not a magical perpetual motion pipe..."
- Beyond universal donors, some poeple are programed with no blood type at all
- Anti-conventional ag movement spurs Big Ag to look to organic pesticides
- Can people really inherit memories?
- An end to fat shaming? The 50 year DNA mystery of metabolic dysfunction may soon be solved
- Egg freezing: a smart career move?
- Women carry fetal DNA long after children’s birth
- Global consumption an increasingly significant driver of tropical deforestation
- An effective, cost-saving way to detect natural gas pipeline leaks
- Susceptibility for relapsing major depressive disorder can be calculated
- Indiana Project screenings show need for more mental health services in youth detention
- Aphthous ulcers: Causes of mucosal inflammation are unclear