When was the most recent pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic in the US?

Updated: May 02, 2019
  • Author: Joseph J Bocka, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Between January 1, 2014 and June 10, 2014 California's public health department reported 3,458 cases of pertussis. The department declared the outbreak to have reached epidemic proportions, with 800 cases reported in the span of just 2 weeks. [18] A study that examined a similar outbreak in California in 2010 determined that nonmedical vaccine exemptions played a role. [19]

Nationally, the CDC stated that the 4,838 cases of pertussis reported from January 1, 2014 to April 14, 2014 represented a 24% increase over the same period in 2013. [20]

The CDC reports that during January 1–November 26, 2014, a total of 9,935 cases of pertussis with onset in 2014 were reported in California. Severe and fatal disease occurs almost exclusively in infants who are too young to be vaccinated against pertussis. Therefore, pregnant women are encouraged to receive tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) during the third trimester of each pregnancy to provide placental transfer of maternal antibodies to the infant. [21, 22]


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