Unvaccinated farmworkers not the cause of Calif. whooping cough

California county and state health reports have debunked speculation that the reason Fresno County was hardest hit by the current whooping cough epidemic was because of unvaccinated Hispanic farmworkers spreading the disease.

Overall rates of infection, the state report found, were highest among non-Hispanic whites, reports. The disease was found to be present throughout the community by a Fresno County Department of Public Health analysis.

All 227 whooping cough cases reported this year in the county were examined by the county health department, which revealed that 43.6 percent of whooping cough cases were contracted by caucasians. Hispanics account for only 42.7 percent of the total whooping cough cases, with African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders accounting for less than five percent of the cases, reports. Those percentages are approximately in line with Fresno County's population demographics.

"It's affecting the entire community," David Luchini, manager of the county's community health division, told

Lorena Lawless, director of clinical services at the United Health Centers community clinics, which serve predominantly farmworking areas of Fresno County, told that many uninsured farmworkers lack shots to prevent whooping cough but that very few cases have been diagnosed.

"Our providers aren't seeing a lot of suspicious cases," Lawless told