by Adel Manoukian
The number of whooping cough cases has tripled in the last year—a change that hasn’t happened in 50 years.
In 2012 alone, there have been 1,288 cases reported in New York State with 186 in New York City and 333 on Long Island.
According to recent reports, one of the causes for the spike in cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is related to adults who have not been vaccinated since the age of 18 contracting the disease and then spreading it to children. Pertussis is highly contagious, and the booster shot that protects adults may have worn off already.
The bacterial disease affects all age groups, most severely affecting children and the elderly. Early symptoms may be confused with the common cold because they are mild and similar. To tell the difference, pertussis is associated with a ‘whooping’ sound when coughing, made especially by young children.
Five doses of vaccine treatments are given to children but with time they wear off, so adults are also urged to have their booster shots.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make way for a three-part plan for combating the disease. He wants the center to work with the state health department to provide free vaccinations and to set up clinics around New York to administer the shots. Schumer also wants to launch a public information campaign about the dangers of whooping cough, mainly targeting adults who have not been vaccinated since the age of 18. Lastly, Schumer urged the CDC to provide ample supply and easy distribution of the vaccines, called DTaP, DT, Tdap and Td, across the US. Schumer worries that the shortfalls during the H1N1 outbreak a few years ago will happen again if measures like these are not taken.
“Whooping cough is rearing its ugly head and we need to get on top of this highly contagious disease before it becomes too big to control,” said Schumer in a recent statement. ”We must also ensure we have ample supply of vaccine to hopefully curb this dangerous trend before it becomes even worse.”
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