SACRAMENTO – California
recorded no deaths from pertussis (whooping
cough) during 2011, a first since 1991,
announced Dr. Ron Chapman, director
of the California Department of Public
Health (CDPH) and the state public
“Greater awareness of the disease,
more rapid diagnosis and treatment,
and increased vaccination rates contributed
to saving the lives of infants,” said
Chapman. “I thank our public
health and medical communities for
working together and being especially
vigilant following the 2010 epidemic.”
In 2010, 9,000 Californians were diagnosed
with pertussis and ten infants died
from the disease. In response, CDPH
partnered with local health departments
and health care providers across the
state implementing disease control
strategies and informational alerts.
The state also offered free vaccines
to hospitals, allowing convenient vaccination
for new parents to prevent transmission
of the disease to newborns. Last fall,
a new state law required students in
7th -12th grades for the first time
to get a Tdap booster shot. The new
school law will apply to all students
entering 7th grade in 2012 and beyond.
While whooping cough remained high
at more than 3,000 cases in 2011, there
have been no deaths since October 13th,
2010. The last time California had
3,000 cases of whooping cough was 2005.
That year, eight infants died. In 1991,
there were only 249 reported pertussis
cases in California.
infants are the most vulnerable to
serious whooping cough complications.
Of 575 whooping cough cases among infants
3 months of age or younger reported
during 2011, 244 (42 percent) were
hospitalized. That’s a significant
drop since 2010 when 59 percent of
infected infants in that age group
Immunity gained from pertussis vaccine
wanes over time, so a booster shot
is needed. The new school immunization
law is intended to further protect
communities by ensuring that adolescents,
who may no longer be immune to whooping
cough, are vaccinated. CDPH produced
public service announcements in English
and Spanish and partnered with the
California Broadcasters Association
to encourage media outlets to air the
ads aimed at raising awareness about
pertussis and the new California law.
Adults, especially those who live or
work with infants, are also strongly
encouraged to get a Tdap shot.
learn more about whooping cough in
California, visit www.CDPH.ca.gov.
To learn more about California’s
school immunization law, visit www.ShotsforSchool.org.
hear what pertussis (whooping cough