Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 18,000 cases reported so far
Health official’s state cases have risen to 18,000 and if this outbreak remains steady this year will be the most severe in over fifty years.
Nine children have died, and health officials have called on adult’s especially pregnant women and those who spend time around children to get a booster shot as soon as possible.View slideshow: Whooping cough treatment
Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, related in a media briefing all adults and pregnant women should get a booster shot because the illness is especially dangerous for children under one year old who have yet to complete a cycle of vaccines.
Dr. Schuchat said for decades had been given to young children but was replaced in the late 1990’s due to concerns over rashes, fevers and other side effects. A new version was created and is considered safer; it is possible it is not effective long term.
In general whooping cough has been increasing for years. According to the CDC whooping cough (pertussis) is a common disease in the United States, with peaks in the disease every three to five years and frequent outbreaks. In 2010, 27,550 cases had been reported but many outbreaks go unreported.
Health investigators are trying to figure out what is happening and the outlooks towards better detection and case reporting. Dr. Schuchat stated "We may need to go back to 1959 to find as many cases reported" halfway through the year.
The CDC is investigating whether or not the increased cases could be due to the vaccine wearing off early. Dr. Schuchat points out especially in cases across the United States rates are raising in 10 year olds and decreasing in 11 and 12 year olds and increasing in 13 and 14 year olds.
According to the Mayo Clinic whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it's marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like "whoop."
Whooping cough typically starts with cold-like symptoms that can include a runny nose, congestion, fever and a mild cough. The CDC advises parents to see a doctor if they or their children develop a prolonged or severe cough. Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics, the earlier the better.
Health officials are preparing for what could be a bad couple of years concerning whooping cough.
"There is a lot of pertussis out there, and there may be more coming to a place near you," says Dr. Schuchat.
More information on whooping cough (pertussis) is available on the CDC website.