May 4, 2012 – WASHINGTON – More than 1,100 cases of whooping cough have already been diagnosed this year in Washington State, nearly doubling the number seen in typical “peak” years. Washington State is gearing up for one of the worst epidemics of pertussis in nearly seven decades. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes a nasty and often severe cough. It is particularly dangerous for young infants. Public health officials have confirmed more than 1,100 cases of whooping cough so far this year in Washington State. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported from this year’s outbreak but 20 infants have been hospitalized already with the illness. Washington’s governor Christine Gregoire announced yesterday that state emergency funds would be available to provide free vaccinations and help spread awareness about the disease and the importance of getting vaccinated. In the U.S. most kids that get immunized receive a series of vaccines against whooping cough at the age of two months. But some kids don’t get immunized, either because their parents object or they are unaware of the importance. Outbreaks of pertussis are not uncoming, but they do tend to run in cycles. Tim Church, a spokesman for the Washington’s state Health Department said the current epidemic in Washington State was running well above typical peak years in the past, when 500 to 600 cases might be reported for an entire year. –Mother Nature Network
contribution Preppin P.