Indiana sees whooping cough cases double since 2016

Cases of whooping cough have more than doubled in Indiana since last year as national cases continue to rise, according to The New York Times.

The state recorded 136 pertussis cases in the first half of 2017, compared to 66 cases for the same period in 2016. Of this year's cases, one was fatal. No fatal cases occurred in 2016.

National pertussis cases have consistently increased over the last decade and a half. In 2003, the U.S. recorded 11,647 cases, marking the first time national cases surpassed 10,000 since 1964, according to the CDC. A recent study published in the journal PNAS suggests this increase may be attributable to a rise in nonmedical vaccine exemptions for children and waning immunity.

The Indiana State Department of Health is urging parents to make sure their children receive all recommended vaccines on a standard schedule. The health department also encourages residents to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

Pertussis is characterized by uncontrollable, violent coughing, which can persist for 10 weeks or more. The disease is extremely contagious, with bacteria spread from hand-to-hand contact, sneezing or coughing. The disease can be deadly in babies.

More articles on infection control: 

Meningitis vaccine lowers gonorrhea risk by 30%, study finds 
Zika's potential US economic burden could exceed $2B 
Health officials confirm 4th case of flesh-eating bacteria in Alabama county

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