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Whooping Cough Cases Rising At Alarming Rate

Pertussis has been around for more than 70 years and health officials say it's increasing in Indiana.

DTaP vaccine

Photo: Bill Shaw

Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP)

A disease that has been around for decades is making a comeback. Some states have declared pertussis to be an epidemic.

The number of cases of pertussis or whooping cough has been increasing over the last several years to levels not seen in more than half a century. The CDC used to recommend people over age 65 who were in contact with small kids get vaccinated, but after an increase in cases, the CDC revised that to include all adults.

Bloomington pediatrician Scot Moore says vaccinations should begin with infants.

“Whooping cough is now the only vaccine preventable illness that is increasing in incidents in the United States,” Moore says.

Whooping cough is spread through things such as sneezing and coughing. Monroe County Public Health Clinic Nurse Amy Meek says the number of cases has risen in the last three years.

“In Indiana we saw over 700 cases in 2010. That’s the most cases we’ve seen since 1959 so it’s definitely been on the rise,” Meek says. “This year it’s been about 130 cases in Indiana so it’s not as high as it has been in the past.”

The state department of health mandates that children have five doses of the pertussis vaccine before starting kindergarten.

Shameka Neely

Shameka Neely, a native of Nashville, Tennessee enthusiastically joined WTIU as Senior Reporter/ InFocus Producer in the news department. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication, with a minor in Marketing and Masters of Arts Degrees' in Administrative Dynamics and Communication all from Western Kentucky University. Shameka also holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University.

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