Whooping cough surged in 2013 | January 24, 2014 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - January 24, 2014

Whooping cough surged in 2013

Study shows increase, but not as bad as 2010 spike

by Nick Veronin

California saw a spike in the number of reported cases of whooping cough last year, and Santa Clara County was hacking away with the rest of the state.

However, the surge in incidents of the disease — also known as pertussis — was not as bad as the massive uptick the state and county saw in 2010, according to a local health official.

In 2010, there were 9,120 cases of pertussis reported in California, a September 2013 article published in the journal Pediatrics reported — which was more than any year since 1947.

In 2010, the county also saw a large number of reported cases of whooping cough — 455, according to Amy Cornell, public information officer for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

That was much higher than prior years, as well as the years that followed, Cornell said. In 2011, there were 204 cases reported — 143 of them in the first quarter of the year. In 2012, the incidence plummeted, to only 46 reported cases.

In 2013, 241 cases were reported — the vast majority of them coming in the second and third quarters of the year. Palo Alto and San Jose got hit hardest, with 48 and 115 cases, respectively. Mountain View saw only 6 reported cases of whooping cough.

Cornell said she was not aware of any hard evidence pointing to a cause for the uptick. However, the article in Pediatrics, titled "Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions and Pertussis in California", 2010, identified a lack of immunization as one of the causes of the 2010 surge. The study found that prevalence of whooping cough was much higher in communities where large numbers of parents chose not to vaccinate their children.

The county public health spokeswoman said she could not draw a link between dropping vaccination rates and a rise in whooping cough. In fact, she noted, "pertussis is cyclical and it does peak every two to five years."

Regardless, Cornell added, vaccination is the best defense the community has against the disease, which can be especially dangerous for the very young and the very old. "I think that it's very important that people continue to get vaccinated," she said.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields