Texas sees rise in whooping cough infections

Health officials in Texas are urging people to be vaccinated against pertussis, or whooping cough, as the illness spreads throughout the state.

Several states, including Texas, have reported a rise in the number of pertussis cases. The Texas Department of Health and local health departments are focusing on infant health as the surge continues unabated, according to Infants under six months of age cannot be vaccinated and are therefore the most vulnerable.

There have been 1,783 cases of pertussis in Texas since beginning of the year, reports. That is a 60 percent rise since 2008.

The largest increase in whooping cough cases appears to be in central Texas in general, with Tarrant County in north Texas hit especially hard. Dallas County has not shown an above average number of cases. Officials have said that the number of cases is not yet high enough to declare pertussis an epidemic, reports.

Regardless, a federal advisory panel is recommending that people who are 65 years of age or older or who are regularly around children be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices released similar advice on November 1.

According to the CDC, approximately two-thirds of infants who get pertussis will be hospitalized. About one in every 10 children who are infected will eventually develop pneumonia.