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Officials: Whooping Cough at Epidemic Levels

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
State health officials say Whooping Cough is now an epidemic. Since July 15th, there have been nine hundred reported cases of whooping cough. Five infants have died from the illness.

Dr. Eileen Yamada, of the California Department of Public Health, says everyone needs to be immunized against whooping cough---including those that got the shot as children. She says those immunizations could help safeguard against more infant fatalities.

“We find that so far this year, all the infant deaths that have occurred have been in infants three months of age,” Yamada says. “So very young infants are particularly vulnerable.”

The problem for those babies is that immunizations might not fully protect them---that’s why Yamada says universal vaccination is crucial. The number of cases reported since the middle of this month is four times higher than the same period last year. 

According to the California DPH, 80% of the infants who have died from Whooping Cough since 1998, have been Latino.
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