Will 2012 be the worse year in history for Whooping Cough?
Nearly 18,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the U.S. so far this year, the AP reports, setting the country on pace for the highest number of cases of the contagious and sometime fatal disease since 1959.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Washington State alone, which declared an epidemic of whooping cough in April, had seen 2,520 cases for the year through June 16, a 14-fold increase from the same period in 2011. This leaves the state on track for its worst year for whooping cough, or pertussis, since 1942.
Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota, Kansas and Arizona have also seen high numbers of cases.
CDC officials said the increase might indicate the vaccine might be wearing off more quickly than expected, the Seattle Times reports. The disease causes severe coughing and gasping for breath, and can prove fatal for babies.
The CDC is recommending that adults — especially pregnant women — get vaccinated to keep kids from getting the bacterial disease, the AP says.
The March of Dimes has more detailed recommendations on which vaccinations are safe during pregnancy here. More information on the signs of whooping cough and how to deal with it can be found at www.soundsofpertussis.com, a campaign backed by the March of Dimes and vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur.