California succeeds in reducing whooping cough cases
In 2010, California public health authorities struggled with a record whooping cough epidemic. 9,156 cases were reported and ten infants died. A pertussis vaccine exists but California is a state that allows parents to exempt their children from immunizations due to a strong personal belief.
At the time, some commentators blamed the whooping cough epidemic on illegal immigration and Latinos in general. Some analysis suggested that, to the contrary, the illness was concentrated in largely white, well-to-do communities. There was data that the outbreak nationally was concentrated in states that allowed immunization exemptions for philosophical reasons or strong personal beliefs.
Data from the California Department of Public Health on immunizations shows the status of kindergartners in the 2010-2011 school year. 7.2 percent of children entering kindergarten in 2010 lacked one or more of the four pertussis immunizations required. That was the highest percentage in a decade. For the 2011-2012 school year, 93 percent of kindergartners had received four or more whooping cough immunizations.
California public health authorities have made major strides in the last two years in the fight against pertussis. The preliminary 2011 data shows 2,932 cases and the data for 2012 through June 2 shows just 186 cases. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides extensive information on its website for parents, medical providers and schools.
Dr. Gilberto Chavez, deputy director, State Epidemiologist, CDPH, described the efforts in an e-mail statement. Educational efforts for parents, ethnic groups and physicians were conducted statewide. The recommendations for pertussis vaccination were changed to target more adults including pregnant women. The CDPH also made the Tdap whooping cough vaccine available free to hospitals and public health departments.
The state has also made a pertussis booster a requirement for seventh graders. That requirement resulted in 97.6 percent of students in grades 7 to 12 receiving the pertussis booster. 69,000 students, 2.2 percent, were granted a personal belief exemption with four counties reporting that over ten percent of their high schoolers has exemptions.
the attachments to this post:
This entry was posted on Saturday, June 9th, 2012 at 12:31 pm and is filed under Medicine, Original writing, Original writing, Reporting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.