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California Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic

California has declared a Whooping Cough Epidemic, Wednesday, June 23 after five infants all under the age of three months have died. There had been 910 cases of whooping cough so far this year alone in California and several hundred of cases are still being investigated.

One of the probable increase in cases of Whooping cough is the fear of some that vaccines may cause autism in children. "There has been that fear of vaccines and the fear of autism is one," says Dr. Joseph Scherger.

However the links of vaccination and autism are not proven nor do they have scientific basis. The effect of this fear is the fact that parents delays the vaccination of their children and for some they even decide not to vaccinate their children at all.

Herd immunity is being practiced in the United States wherein the health sector ensures that a considerable number of people in the community are vaccinated so that everyone can be protected. Since the fear for these vaccines started herd immunity is declining thus threatening possible community outbreaks.

Dr. Scherger says, whooping cough is '"....especially deadly to infants and young children.....But in adults it could cause a pretty severe persistent infection.'"

In 2009 a Pediatrics study noted that children who do not get the whooping cough vaccine are 23 times more likely to get the illness than a fully immunized child; public health officials in California are encouraging residents to make sure their children's vaccinations are up to date.

Symptoms of whooping cough includes a cough and a running nose that last for a week or two are the first symptoms to look out for; the cough then becomes more serious, with a whooping-like sound.

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