There have already been 733 reported cases of whooping cough (Pertussis) in California this year, with 78 cases just in Contra Costa County, according to the Bay Citizen. In 2010, the county had 205 cases for the entire year, while there were over 8,000 cases throughout California, the most since 1947. Last year, 10 infants died of the disease in California.
Pertussis is a serious respiratory infection that is treatable with antibiotics and preventable with vaccines. While it can be deadly for babies, it can still cause healthy older children and adults to miss weeks of school or work and even require hospitalization. There has been an upsurge of infections in California among some unvaccinated immigrants and especially among unvaccinated middle class native born children whose parents ostensibly have bought into the anti-vaccine hysteria.
A new state law now requires students in grades 7 through 12 to show proof of vaccination for Pertussis before they go to school, including a recent booster. (The dtap vaccine given to toddlers does not give life-long protection against whooping cough, as do the vaccines for mumps and measles). State Superintendent Tom Torlakson recently produced a video message to inform parents of the new law and the dangers of Pertussis.