Whooping Cough In CA Has Nevada's Attention

RENO, NV - It's a sound like no other, the sound of a child gasping for air as he suffers from Whooping Cough.

Its tough to miss and some children die from it every year in this country.

But the disease can be prevented, which is why Patrick McNeely took his son in for a vaccination.

“Pretty important. I've seen it on the news before in the emergency room and they don't look so good,” says McNeely.

While that interview was taped a couple years ago, it seems there are fewer parents out there, at least in California, who hold that belief.

That's one of the reasons California health officials believe they are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of Whooping Cough--otherwise known as Pertussis-- cases in their state.

2649 cases in the first five months of 2014.

That's more than the entire year of 2013.

In April alone, 800 cases, the highest monthly count in four years.

Washoe County Health Department says it's had 16 confirmed cases so far this year.

And the lower numbers, they say, can't just be attributed to our state's smaller population.

“I think Nevada has been much more aggressive in making sure our population is vaccinated and protected against this disease,” says Lynnie Shore, RN, with the county's immunization program.

Shore says the state has provided OBGYN's with vaccinations for moms in their third trimester so they can protect themselves as well as their children--initially from Pertussis.

Our state also requires kids be immunized for whopping cough in the seventh grade.

Cocooning, where parents and anyone else who comes in contact with a newborn are encouraged to get vaccinated, is also in play.

Still, with summer travel just around the corner, health officials here are conscious those from California not vaccinated against whooping cough will make their way into our state.

”So that's what our goal is, is to identify all the contacts and get them treated prior to them breaking down with disease,” says Susanne Paulson, a county epidemiologist.

Health officials say there are other reasons for California's Whooping Cough outbreak.

They say the vaccination doesn't last forever, and there is waning immunity.

Doctors too are getting more aggressive in their detection of the unique cough.