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article imageNY whooping cough cases highest since 1999

By Nancy Houser     Dec 1, 2011 in Health
New York - Early this year, 13 diagnosed cases of whooping cough were in Smithtown, New York. As the year progressed, that number would increase drastically to 216 cases throughout the entire Suffolk County.
This is the highest number of whooping cough cases reported in the area since 1999. Also called pertussis, whooping cough is highly contagious and can cause serious illness in infants who are too young to be vaccinated with the five required shots. Families with newborns should have teenagers and adults vaccinated.
For Infants and Children: In the US, the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. This is a safe and effective combination vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. For maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots. The first three shots are given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given when a child enters school, at 4–6 years of age. If a 7-10 year old is not up-to-date with DTaP vaccines, a dose of Tdap should be given before the 11-12 year old check up.(CDC)
Whooping cough is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, and is one of the most common of all vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. If not properly vaccinated with the DTaP vaccinations, over half of infants under one year of age will end up in the hospital with lung infection; one out of 100 will develop convulsions from the disease; and another one out of 100 will die.
Infants who develop whooping cough usually will obtain it from their parents, their sisters and brothers, and caregivers who do not recognize they have the disease. The bad news is that the disease peaks every three to five years, with 2010 reporting 27 deaths from whooping cough with 25 in children under one year of age.
The more there are diagnosed cases of whooping cough in New York, resulting in a higher number of vaccinations. But for the many parents who had refused to vaccinate their children before the epidemic started, history needs to remind them of the death toll that so many childhood diseases caused.
"A growing number of pediatricians are saying no to families if they continue to refuse vaccination." (ABC 4 News)
The reason why so many parents in New York and across the nation have chosen not to vaccinate is because of the concern of vaccines causing autism in children. Things like infant immunizations, HPV vaccines, vaccine safety and misconceptions of how vaccines affect children have been a growing concern across the country, especially in California and New York.
Numerous cases of whooping cough has caused many doctors and health practitioners to turn away any patient, especially young children, who do not have any whooping cough vaccinations for the safety of those who have. Approximately one in 10 families do not follow a vaccination schedule for their children, which has a lot to do with the current developing epidemic, according to CBS.
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