Whooping Cough cases on the rise in New York state

Jul 30, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control is encouraging everyone to make sure they are vaccinated against pertussis -- commonly known as whooping cough. The CDC says New Yorkers in particular need to be protected against the disease.

So far this year, a record number of whooping cough cases have been reported nationwide -- and in New York state. In the first half of 2012, there have been five times as many people with the disease in New York compared to the same time period last year.

Dr. Jennifer Liang of the CDC says getting vaccinated as a child, and getting a booster vaccine later is the way to stop the outbreak.

"There have been many factors that have contributed to this increase. But one of the things we have seen is that vaccines wane over time, " said Liang.

The CDC says adolescents and adults of all ages, including seniors, should get the booster, which has only been available since 2005.

"Adolescents have been vaccinated well. We have good coverage among adolescents, but in adults, the coverage has actually been poor," said Liang.  In 2010, less than 10% of adults have been vaccinated."

The CDC says that infants are the most at risk -- the most likely to get extremely ill and die from the disease. In New York state last year, three babies died of whooping cough. Dr. Liang says anyone who cares for an infant should get vaccinated.

"We also want to stress the importance of protecting infants, so to make sure that everyone around them are vaccinated, especially pregnant women, so they can protect themselves and their baby before the infant is old enough to get their own vaccines."

New York is one of five states that the CDC says show an alarming increase of whooping cough this year. The other states are Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.