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More Whooping Cough Deaths Feared



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Dr. Kathy Harriman with the California Department of Public Health says the number of whooping cough cases probably won't go down anytime soon.
 
"It's not good news. We would see it going up before it goes down."
 
Whooping cough…or pertussis…typically peaks in August and September. It's a cyclical disease, so Harriman says the bump in numbers wasn't unexpected. But pertussis can be hard to diagnose. 
 
"The symptoms can be very deceivingly mild and often not recognized by healthcare providers. It is frustrating and certainly the infant deaths are just tragic because pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease."
 
The infants who died were all newborns who caught the disease from adults. That's why state health officials are urging people to get vaccinated with Tdap…it's a booster shot that helps prevent the spread of pertussis.

So far this year, there've been 584 cases of pertussis. That's about three-times last year's number.
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