Number of cases is rising quickly
Maricopa County health officials are putting out the call to county residents: please get your kids vaccinated for whooping cough.
The disease, known formally as pertussis, had all but disappeared until a few years ago. According to Dr. David Rosenberg, an attending physician at Maricopa Medical Center, as the number of parents rises who refuse to vaccinate their children for various reasons, the incidence of childhood diseases has begun to rise. "It gives you a reservoir of the disease that can be transmitted to other kids," he says.
Another reason for the increase is that the pertussis vaccine that most of us received as kids doesn't provide lifetime immunity, as was previously thought. Dr. Rosenberg says it appears that the vaccine is only good for about ten years.
For that reason, he suggests that all people – including adults – get a new pertussis vaccine, which is now combined with the tetanus booster, every ten years.
The Arizona Department of Health Services reports more than 650 cases of whooping cough statewide so far this year. And more than 200 cases of the disease were reported to schools across Maricopa County last school year.