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2010 Year in Review: Blasts from the past
December 28th, 2010
12:24 PM ET

2010 Year in Review: Blasts from the past

Editor’s note: This week, The Chart is taking a closer look at the most important health stories of 2010. Each day, we'll feature buzzwords and topics that came to the forefront over the past year.

We’re closing out the first decade of the 21st century, but our technology still can’t combat some health issues that seem antiquated.

Bedbugs are among the most annoying characters of 2010 that crawled in the news and wouldn’t go away. A National Pest Management Association report declared bedbugs a rising problem in July, with calls about them going up 81 percent since 2000.

Bedbugs feed at night and can survive up to one year without eating at all, meaning they’re hard to get rid of. By September, bedbugs had irritated travelers as well as shop owners: Even the Nike store in Midtown Manhattan had to close temporarily because of bedbugs.

They tend to leave itchy bite marks in the average person, although some people actually have allergic reactions from them. And it appears that the only foolproof solution to get rid of them is an expensive extermination process. We actually don’t have a pesticide that is both safe and cheap and guaranteed to push the bedbugs out. In the meantime, check your mattress often and watch what you bring into your bedroom. In a hotel, try to keep your stuff off the floor lest the bedbugs crawl into your suitcases and come home with you.

Here’s another health issue that’s made a comeback this year: whooping cough, known medically as pertussis. A vaccine for whooping cough was widely tested as early as the 1920s, and these days most children receive five doses of a pertussis vaccine before kindergarten. Nonetheless, whooping cough reached an epidemic level in California in June, with 910 recorded cases in the state as of June 15 and 6,257 cases as of October 27. And it’s not just California; CNN affiliate WBKO says Kentucky has seen at least 250 cases this year.

One theory is that many people are not getting the proper vaccinations, perhaps because of unfounded fears of contracting autism. The signs of whooping cough are hard to distinguish from the common cold, and not everyone has the characteristic “whooping” sound. But it can be deadly, especially in young children. Doctors recommend that 11- and 12-year-olds get a booster shot that inoculates against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pregnant women should get a dose after giving birth.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.