1) Lack of vaccinations in certain areas of the country
2) Waning immunity to diphtheria and tetanus toxoids
3) Waning immunity to vaccines as well
The pertussis outbreak in California is the worst in the past 60 years there. The CDC estimates 27,550 cases of pertussis were reported in the United States in 2010, with about 10,000 of those occurring in California. Californians have a new law, AB 354, which requires documentation of an adolescent pertussis booster shot before school entry. More than 1 million students statewide remained unvaccinated before the 2011 fall semester.
There has also been a recent outbreak in Long Island, New York with over 200 infected. Illinois has recently seen 260 cases in one county alone were found mostly in school age and high school age children. In Chicago 1149 people have been infected with whopping cough as of December 13, 2011. (A majority of these cases were in infants too young to receive their vaccine – they can get their first vaccine at 2 months old but the series of them goes up to 6 months old before the vaccine becomes effective.) Parents and others around children who are infected should also get the vaccine to protect themselves.
Experts say vaccination, including critical booster shots, is the best defense against pertussis. That means vaccines should be given all the way up to 12 grade and not just in the early ages and grades. Some experts recommend people up to the age of 65 should get their vaccine against pertussis as the vaccine protection lessens with age.
How can you avoid spreading the pertussis?
1) Cover Your Mouth
2) Clean your hands with soap and water long enough to sing Happy Birthday 2 times!
3) Stay away from others while infected