California is being hit with a massive epidemic of whooping cough. Of whooping cough – one of those diseases for which there’s been an effective vaccine for more than 70 years.
California is being hit hard with a whooping cough epidemic, according to the state’s public health department, with 800 cases reported in the past two weeks alone.
The agency says that there were 3,458 whooping cough cases reported between January 1 and June 10, well ahead of the number of cases reported for all of 2013.
This is a problem of “epidemic proportions,” the department said. And the number of actual cases may be even higher, because past studies have shown that for every case of whooping cough that is reported, there are 10 more that are not officially counted.
Nice job, anti-vaxxers.
California has historically had higher vaccination rates than other states, but a recent study found large clusters of parents who did not vaccinate their children close to areas with a large number of whooping cough cases during the 2010 California outbreak.
The current outbreak is too new for scientists to know if there is a similar pattern.
Whooping cough cases have spread rapidly in the United States this year, with a 24% increase nationally in the number of cases, compared to January through April of last year, according to the CDC.
Other states are reporting similar problems. The Mobile County Health Department in Alabama, for example, recently noted an “alarming” rise of cases locally, with 18 cases in May and June. That’s more than all the reported cases in Mobile for 2013, health officials say.
Herd immunity? What’s that?