September 22, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California has seen a sharp increase in cases of whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease once thought to be nearly eradicated.
The Sacramento Bee reports state data shows the number of reported cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, rose from 1,023 in 2012 to 1,669 last year. About 83 percent of the cases were in children ages 7 to 16.
California health officials say one reason for the increase is declining immunity among children who were vaccinated years earlier but haven't gotten the booster shot recommended at ages 11 or 12. In addition, more parents are opting out of immunizations for their children.
Whooping cough causes violent coughing that makes it hard to catch one's breath. Coughing spells can last for 10 weeks.
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