WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2017

California reports 6,257 total whooping cough cases

According to California health officials, there are now 6,257 confirmed, probable or suspected cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the state and the number is continuing to rise.

This year’s outbreak is the worst that the state has seen in at least 60 years. It has prompted Dr. Kathleen Harriman of the California Department of Public Health to advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to recommend to anyone who has not had the Tdap vaccine to get it, WoodTV.com reports.

ACIP is currently in the middle of an annual two day meeting. The panel regularly makes recommendations on how to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases and how vaccines should be administered, according to WoodTV.com.

The panel has recommended that teens between 11 and 12 be vaccinated against whooping cough. Those who have not had the vaccine and those who do not know their vaccine history should be vaccinated immediately. Adults from 19 to 64 are asked to receive a single dose of Tdap instead of the Td vaccine, which is only for tetanus and diphtheria.

Harriman was particularly concerned by the number of infant fatalities contributed to pertussis.

"Unfortunately, and tragically, we have had 10 deaths, all in infants under two years of age," Harriman told the panel, according to WoodTV.com.

Harriman went on to say that 9 out of the 10 infants were Hispanic and several had family members who were ill with a cough.