Whooping Cough in Iowa
The Des Moines Register is just one of several media outlets reporting on the current whooping cough outbreak in Iowa. Ann Garvey, deputy state epidemiologist, is quoted as describing the situation as part of a three to five year cycle for pertussis cases. The data suggests that there may be other, more pertinent reasons for the outbreak.
Iowa requires a pertussis immunization to attend public school. Fives doses of the DTaP vaccine are necessary to begin school. The state does not require a whooping cough booster as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at ages 11-12.
The latest report from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows that the peak numbers of reported whooping cough cases are in children ages 10 to 12, with the greatest number of pertussis cases in eleven year olds.
Iowa averaged 451 whooping cough cases in the decade from 2002 to 2011. For the last five years, 2007 to 2011, the average number of pertussis cases has been 317. Through June 15, the state is reporting 485 cases for this year.
Using the reports submitted by the state of Iowa to the CDC annually showing immunization rates in kindergartners, we find the data shows poor immunization practices. The data is from the School Entry Immunization Assessment Report.
The survey covers all kindergartners in Iowa and is as of the first day of school. 2009 is blank because the survey as posted reports that 100.3 percent of the children were in compliance, an impossibility.
There is a pool of children entering school without the required immunizations. Do they catch up during the following years? It’s not at all clear. The data reported by Iowa does not cover the topic.
The whooping cough outbreak in Iowa appears to be related to the lack of pertussis immunizations in the affected population. It appears that significant numbers of children in school are not properly immunized against pertussis. The lack of a required immunization booster in the “tween” years leads directly to the large number of cases in children ages 10-12. The cyclical nature of whooping cough outbreaks may be just an old wives’ tale.
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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 10:32 am and is filed under Original writing, Analysis, 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.