Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is on the rise, even among people who have been vaccinated. In the past year, cases in California have increased seven-fold, with 2,774 confirmed cases. Outbreaks have also occurred in New York, South Carolina and Michigan.
No one really knows why the disease is increasing, but we do know that the vaccine is not 100% effecive. If whooping cough is circulating in a community, it’s possible for a vaccinated person to get the disease.
The effectieness of the vaccine fades over time. So adolescents and adults may need to be revaccinated; check with your health care provider.
Because some of the symptoms of whooping cough are similar to a cold, it may take a while for a person to realize it’s more than a cold. But after 1-2 weeks, severe coughing begins.
Infants and children who have the disease cough often and violently; they inhale with a loud “whooping sound.” Whooping cough is most severe in babies.