June 24th, 2010
11:21 AM ET

Whooping cough is epidemic in California

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

The highly contagious disease whooping cough has reached an epidemic level in California, state officials say, according to CNN affiliate KTLA.

There have been 910 recorded cases of whooping cough in the state as of June 15. Five babies have died from the disease this year.

Most children receive five doses of a vaccine against whooping cough before kindergarten, but that immunization doesn't last a lifetime.

California has seen three times its usual number of whooping cough cases this year, a state health department spokesman told CNN recently.

Read the full story from KTLA

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. laura

    What are the symptoms of this preventable disease? We all know coughing but how much and for how long should you begin to worry.

    June 25, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Emily

    It's probably due to all of the paranoia that immunizations cause autism... no REAL scientific evidence to prove this...

    June 25, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Nik

    wow! I have read all the pros and cons. I think that everyone should get vaccinated no matter what the age, babies because their small, you should just wait till at least their 3 years old is best, that is when they should get a shot. I have not had the whopping cough yet, and hope to avoid it. I still get shots even if I travel to another country. So for you non believers please if you don't have anything to contribute to the article, please just read it and not say anything. Okay? 910 cases is a lot for people to handle. SO GET VACCINATED EARLY! ASAP!

    June 25, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Nichole

    @ Mole-
    I don't think you've done much research. There is a lot of evidence proving that combinations of vaccines do not cause autism. Read "Autism's False Prophets" and you will learn more than just googling to find conclusive studies. The rates of autism are no different in vaccinated children than with unvaccinated children.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. kathy

    My great nephew came home from the newborn nursey with it in February and has just now gotten over it. My entire family had to go on antibotics for it because we had a family gathering all 32 of us. This is nothing to mess with please get babies their shots and adults get your boosters...

    June 25, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. anon


    As per your "The reason we have disease is because of all your fat fu*king children are not taking care of themselves. Try being a 'good' parent and stop taking your kids to fast food joints and stop buying processed foods and snacks. Cut out sugar, change the diet. Once you change the diet, things will get better"

    These diseases have been around a lot longer than fast food and processed food. Maybe you should do a little research on the history of the diseases and educate yourself instead of making yourself sound totally ignorant.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Yar

    There are lots of religious and other types of nut jobs in california who refuse to get vaccinated. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. GET YOUR KIDS VACCINATED! Stupid hippies.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ken


    So let me get this straight, because these diseases have been around before the invention of fast food and processed food, vaccines are good? How did you come up with that? I have done much research on health, vaccines, foods, etc. Have you? Or do you listen to others? You do have a point about diseases being around longer, but what were you trying to prove? Did you know that the vaccine industry makes billions off of us? Did you also know that some doctors are given perks if they recommend certain vaccines and drugs? Problem with you, you take things at face value. Time to think for yourself Anon. Be a big boy

    June 25, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Stephen

    Half of the infants hospitalized with whooping cough have caught it from an adult within their home; i.e., a parent, older sibling, grandparent. Immunity from the kindergarten vaccine starts to wane in the teen years; therefore, teenagers and adults need to be vaccinated with the newer Tdap (tetanus booster) vaccine in order to better protect the very young and very vulnerable infants that account for most deaths from pertussis.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Carol - Public Health Nurse, California

    I nearly died of whooping cough at the age of three, before the vaccination was available in the early 1940's.

    Later, I worked in public health for many years, administering immunizations and trying to educate the public about them. An infant's first pertussis vaccine dose is given at age 2 months. Full immunity is not usually reached until later in the series, so infants are vulnerable to exposure to older siblings or contacts who carry the disease. The vaccine is not routinely administered to persons over the age of 12.

    Infants comprise the group most vulnerable to the disease. Older persons may experience only cold symptoms if they contract whooping cough, but can be carriers that infect others.

    It has been my experience that illegal immigrants are more apt to immunize their children for childhood diseases than are some "well-educated" but ill informed members of upper-middle and upper classes. While I am not a proponent of illegal immigration, I do favor this kind of preventative medicine (free immunizations) for the protection of all.The primary goal of all health departments is to reduce the incidence of communicable disease, thus, most offer free or low cost immunizations to the public.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LHF

    My son had it 5-6 years ago, and he had been vaccinated. He was around 15 at the time. The doctors did not yet realize that the effectiveness wears off in 8 to10 years. He recovered fully, but it took months. I caught it from him, although a much milder version. I would recommend all adolescents and adults get a booster shot.

    In our family we eat healthy and take care of ourselves. This had nothing to do with poor eating habits. It's extremely contagious and anyone can catch it.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Janet

    Hey, people, this isn't about illegals. It's about all those idiot American parents who never bothered to vaccinate their kids. Whooping cough was a serious illness when I was a kid. That's why they developed a vaccine. (Duh!) But the vaccine only works if parents actually provide it to their kids. So now a problem we almost wiped out is back as an epidemic. Way-to-go you stupid moron new-age parents.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris doyle

      oh dear Janet,.I see you've never read a thing about this vaccine.The pertussis vac had to be withdrawn as the side effects outweighed the effectiveness..Fact.The new vac whilst is less effective huh'?but has less side effects.Unfortunately its not uncommon to acquire whooping cough from this vaccine.Fact.And Janet stop dividing the community with your ridiculous statements .Wake up ,girl.Oh,we were never told why?Most had to research to know this.Like I did.You didn't.If an infant dies from vaccination you are responsible for that death by giving permission.Fact.Big Pharma put a disclaimer on the product that they're not responsible in the event of disability or death.WHY?Make it safe and i'll vaccinate .Settle down Janet.You are one of millions who feel that way.

      August 22, 2013 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  13. nick frent

    encourage moms to nurse their babies. There are several safe pertussis vaccines available from Denmark and Germany.
    So, eating healthy mom nursing baby: start vaccines at 1 1/2 years old. with 1 or 2 European vaccines.
    If you give your baby formula , then yes you are at risk and you must start your vaccines early.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Janet

    This isn't about illegals. It's about all those American parents who never bothered to vaccinate their kids. Whooping cough was a serious illness when I was a kid. That's why they developed a vaccine. But the vaccine only works if parents actually provide it to their kids. So now a problem we almost wiped out is back as an epidemic. Talk about short-sightedness on those parents' fault.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Pat

    Wow..Dave actually thinks that it's Wealthy white people not getting their kids vaccinated and then taking them on trips where they can catch the disease!! That stupidity is amazing..Let me tell you Dave, most of these people have to struggle to cover the therapies for their autistic children. They aren't rich, and they certainly are taking trips.]
    Don't blame Jennie, she is just voicing what many in the medical community already know but want to keep hushed.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. lk

    Of the 910 recorded cases it's too bad yet not surprising that this article did not state how many were vaccinated and how many unvaccinated. How many adults on this forum have ever done any research on pertussis to learn the history of the disease and it's impact, when the pertussis vaccination program was rolled out and looked at the stats of effectiveness? How many adults on this forum have had a recent pertussis vaccine or even thought about it before they read this article? How many adults on this forum believe that if you have the pertussis vaccine you will be protected from pertussis? How many adults on this forum have researched or asked what the percentage of effectiveness is after receiving the pertussis vaccine? How many adults on this forum have had their own or their child's titres done to even know if the pertussis vaccine 'took'? How many adults on this forum have read the contraidications on the DTaP vaccine package (or any of them) that you are advised to receive from your doctor and read about as a responsible adult and parent? How may adults on this forum are being responsible to check with their doctor to make sure they and their child are receiving vaccines from the same lot? How many adults on this page have ever heard about the CDC's pink pages and been curious and protective of their child's health to read them?

    It's just shameful what some people are posting here. Don't be quick to judge. Choose your words wisely and know what you are talking about. If you really care then do some balanced research and then make your choice.

    June 25, 2010 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Panic

    Seems like people are in a constant state of panic these days...it's 900 cases, your baby is still more likely to die in your car in an accident...let's not start the December 12, 2012 bon fires just yet....

    June 25, 2010 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Marian

    I have a 13 year old with autism, he has had all of his vaccines... I truly believe the vaccines did NOT cause his autism. I am 43 I had all my vaccines as a child as did all of you, there was no epidemic of autism back then that I can recall. Having an autistic child is NOT the end of the world, it's still your child and you will still love them and they you !. PLEASE, PLEASE GET YOUR CHILDREN VACCINATED! http://www.autismspeaks.org

    June 25, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. lk

    Autism is not the only concern surrounding vaccines and that is not the onl. I am 45 and had all my vaccines as a child – all 3 of them.

    June 25, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jeremy

    I know all to well how parents are feeling, and also the pain and anguish you are going thru when your loved one is crying and looking for you to help stop the coughing. My now 10yr old contracted para-petusis @ day-care when he was three. He had been vaccinated for everything, including petusis, but, this was a mutated strain. So, before everyone jumps on the "blame-no-vaccinne" parents children.

    The breathing machines/mask/steroid combination, along with aesthma medication go along way in releaving the symptoms. It totally breaks your heart when your little one is turning purple in front of your very eyes, and you are helpless to get any extra oxygen into his/her lungs.

    I pray that all the families going thru this right now make it to 100% recovery. The doctors had thought that my son had tore a hole in his heart fom coughing so much. After numerous tests, including EKGs, the tear/hole mysteriously dissapeared.

    June 25, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Prolib

    A rise in diseases such as whooping cough, tuberculosis, malaria, measles and even leprosy are creating public health concerns in California and ARE coming from Mexico into the U.S. from people coming here in the Millions each year illegally who are not screened are vaccinated.

    The Americans who travel and come back can not be the ones causing the epidemic even if their vaccinations were no good for many reasons as there would not be enough people coming back who would have had contact with it being most people stay in higher end places, the amount of travelers even if ALL somehow came back with it would only cause very small pockets of out breaks, etc..

    The facts it this is coming to our door from the 3rd world conditions in Mexico via illegal immigration.

    Lets take Arizona for example since it's a hot topic right now. Border patrol only catched 1/4 of those crossing illegally about 1 million so 3 million make it to the U.S. and that's just in Arizona.

    It's not being hateful or racist it's just the facts of it, that's all

    June 26, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Glass

    When I was 3 I lived in California and got Whooping Cough. My parents had an illegal working as a housekeeper and her son had it. I survived, but I found out this past year that though I had it in the past, I could get it again, so I got the vaccine shot. It was no big deal, the shot didn't hurt, and no side effects. Keep your shots current. You'll not only help yourself, you'll be protecting others.

    June 26, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dave

    I lived in northern LA county in 2005 when my daughter at Saugus HS started coughing. We went into the local clinic in Valencia and they treated her for a cough. The doctors NEVER thought to check for Whooping Cough as it was supposed to be a wiped out illness and was no longer taught in med school.. cough, cough..
    We moved to Arizona a month later where she continued coughing for weeks and then I got it,. The doctors here gave us a Z-PAK but that did not stop if. On my next visit, the doctor I had, had just recovered from it himself. He said he had to take 2-Z-Paks to kill it. So thats what he prescribed to us and it worked. Having had this illness I will tell you it is BAD NEWS to get. You do not want it. Worse then any flu I ever had. If you like sleeping upright and cross legged on your bed with a bowl to spit into all night, go right ahead. If your body is weak this will KILL you. Babies and the elderly will die if they get this. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I had the vaccine shot back in the 60s when it was common. If you are 40 or older do yourself a favor and get the booster shot!!!

    July 7, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. concernedparent

    It concerns me that so many people here do not understand that vaccines are not as safe as candy, as everyone seems to think. Any responsible parent would actually look into vaccine safety before swallowing the party line of big pharma, which doctors unfortunately repeat without question. This is not about autism; it's about severe reactions. If you look into it at all, you find that it may happen far more often than we are told, but doctors will deny any connection unless it's "proven." I looked into the government reports to assure myself these were safe, and what I found is that doctors will say that a healthy child who suddenly dies of a brain hemmorage a day after getting a vaccine is just a coincidence. So of course the statistics make the vaccines look safe. If you have a child who may be prone to seizures, I don't see how you can just shrug this off. Any rational, thinking parent should be scared silly of both the disease and the vaccines. There is no easy answer here, despite the fairytale people want to believe.

    August 3, 2010 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Nead Digger

    Toss the mestizo tinyturds in the TRASH! Save the ARYAN babies!

    September 7, 2010 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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