Illinois whooping cough cases on the rise

Health officials in Illinois have announced that the number of whooping cough, or pertussis, cases is continuing to climb.

Officials have reported that 600 cases have been confirmed in Illinois, with that number continuing to rise, Examiner.com reports.

State officials told Examiner.com that one factor that may be contributing to the rise in cases is the country’s perception of the vaccine itself. Most adult Americans received Dtap vaccinations as children with the belief that it was lifetime immunity or that if they had had the infection, they had a lifetime immunity.

Medical officials, however, say that neither belief is actually true.

Whooping cough outbreaks have occurred nationwide this year, with 5,200 cases of pertussis, including nine infant deaths, reported throughout California.

Florida has 145 reported cases of whooping cough  with 23 of those cases reported in infants younger than three months old.  There have been 610 cases reported in Michigan this year while Texas has reported 1,783 cases.

Melanie Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois health department, said that there are a number of prevent the spread of pertussis, including hand washing. She stressed that vaccinations and booster shots are the most effective.

"Our strongest message is to vaccinate,” Arnold told Examiner.com. “This is a preventable, life-threatening disease.”