Whooping cough cases hit record numbers

Indiana is seeing a record-high number of incidences of whooping cough.  More than four hundred cases of the illness have been reported so far this year – the highest number the state has seen since 1964.  Whooping cough – known formally as pertussis, is marked by fits of coughing, followed by a “whooping” sound or vomiting.  The illness can take months to run its course.  Angela Cierznewski is an epidemiologist with the Indiana State Department of Health.  She says the easiest way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.

 Cierznewski on Whooping Cough

The pertussis vaccine is one of a rare few that tends to become less effective over time.  A new Indiana state law requires older students to get a booster shot.  And state health officials suggest even adults consider getting the booster.  Whooping cough has been seen at epidemic levels across the country – and is responsible for nine deaths in California this year.

Here is the Indiana State Department of Health info page on whooping cough (pertussis).

For more stories from Indiana Public Broadcasting, please visit their news blog.

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IPR's "All Things Considered" host, reporter, and producer
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