Whooping Cough Declared An Epidemic in California: Cough Symptoms
Whooping Cough, Also Known As Pertussis, Has Been Declared An Epidemic After 910 Cases Have Been Counted
Five babies have already died from whooping cough in California and now the state has called the outbreak an epidemic according to CBS. 910 cases have been counted so far and more are expected to come.
The number of cases this year are already 400 more than last year, and could break the highest number of cases set 50 years ago. 600 cases are currently under investigation.
"Children should be vaccinated against the disease and parents, family members and caregivers of infants need a booster shot," California Department of Public Health director Dr. Mark Horton said Wednesday.
Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis, is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis according to Kid's Health. It can start as just a regular cough with a runny nose, but after one to two weeks could develop in to a severe cough that makes a 'whooping' sounds when the person breathes in and tries to catch their breath. It often strikes in children younger than 6 months and between 11 to 18 years when the effects of their vaccination has worn off.
During a coughing spell, which can last for more than a minute, the child may turn red or purple. At the end of a spell, the child may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in or may vomit. Between spells, the child usually feels well.
Some infants may not make a 'whooping' sound and could just look as if they are gasping for air and their face will be red.
It is highly contagious. The best defense is the vaccine, which is administered as part of the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis immunizations. These are usually given in five doses before the child is six. It is usually recommended that children between the ages of 11 and 12 get a booster shot as the vaccine may have worn off by then.
If you suspect you or your child may have whooping cough, contact your doctor immediately.