Whooping cough cases on the rise in Arizona

December 29, 2012

Cases of pertussis -- also known as whooping cough -- have spiked in Arizona this year. The Arizona Department of Health Services says as of December 15, the state’s seen 913 reported cases of pertussis and one death. 

That’s up from 867 last year and 546 in 2010. But the state health department says whooping cough is cyclical. In 2008, there were only about 100 cases -- in 2005, about 1,100.

Infants, especially those under 6 months, are at the greatest risk from the bacterial infection. But Dr. Karen Lewis, director of the health department’s immunization program, says everyone should get the vaccine.

“For years, we only immunized children because they were the ones that died and it was thought that they were the ones that spread pertussis. Now, it’s appreciated that teenagers and adults also get whooping cough and also need a whooping cough vaccine.”

Lewis you’re 23 times more likely to get pertussis without the vaccine.

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