Whooping cough epidemic rages on in California

Incidences of pertussis in California are likely to increase because of the disease's natural cycle and fewer people getting vaccinated for whooping cough, according to the California Department of Public Health.

From Jan. 1 to Nov. 26, a total of 9,935 pertussis cases were reported in California.

Infants under a year old, especially Hispanic infants, and white, non-Hispanic teenagers from 14 to 16 years old have the highest burden of disease. However, the severe and fatal disease happens almost exclusively in infants too young for the vaccine.

The Department of Public Health encouraged prenatal care providers to provide the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine known as Tdap to pregnant women or encourage them to get Tdap from another provider to protect their infants from placental transfer of maternal antibodies to the infant.

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