Alarming number of whooping cough cases in Pima County - Tucson News Now

Alarming number of whooping cough cases in Pima County

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

There is an alarming number of whooping cough cases in Arizona and Southern Arizona is no exception. So far this year, there have been 69 whooping cough cases in Pima County. In 2012, there were 46 reported cases. In 2011, Pima County saw 33 cases. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the severity of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has surpassed anything we have seen since 1955.

Locally, the Vail School District has seen 15 cases this year alone. In the past several weeks, Empire High School alone has reported three students having whooping cough. That has forced the health department to keep some kids at home who have not been vaccinated for pertussis.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that spreads through the air. Pima County Health expert, Kathy Malkin, says there are a number of reasons we may be seeing more cases, "some are because parents don't get their children vaccinated, then there is also some evidence that the vaccine used now is an acellular type of vaccine that the protection kind of fades quicker than it did with the older type of vaccine."

Health experts say if you have a baby or little one in the family, it is especially important to get vaccinated because it could be deadly for small children.

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