More than 2,600 whooping cough cases reported during Jan-May period

More than 2,600 whooping cough cases reported during Jan-May period

Cases of persistent and sometimes deadly cough disease called pertussis (whopping cough) have increased to an alarming number in California, with more cases being reported in just first five months of this year than in the whole 2013.

The California Department of Public Health's latest report revealed that 2,649 cases of pertussis/whooping cough were reported during January to May period in California. The figure is more than all of the whooping cough cases reported in the state in the previous twelve months.

The month of April alone accounted for more than 800 cases of the persistent cough disease. It was the highest monthly figure since the epidemic of 2010, when more than 9,000 cases of whooping cough were reported.

Sonoma County recorded 410 cases of the disease, while Bay Area's Santa Clara County recorded 123 cases. Marin County, Contra Costa County and Alameda County recoded 98, 89 and 87 cases, respectively.

Sherri Willis, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Public Health Department, said, "You have to be extraordinarily persistent in terms of reminding parents to have their children immunized, and for whatever reason, they are delaying or deciding not to."

Health officials have warned that the disease peaks after a gap of three to five years; and recommended that pregnant women must receive pertussis vaccine booster shots during the third trimester of each pregnancy to protect their infants.

Weakening immunity and more resolute detection are said to be the reasons behind the drastic increase in whooping cough cases.

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