Public health experts are now recommending that pregnant women get the vaccine for whooping cough during pregnancy. The recommendation is in response to the growing outbreak of the infection in the U.S. So far, there are more than 32,000 reported cases of whooping cough across the country. If the trend holds, it’s on track to be the highest number of cases since 1959.
The federal government’s top health officers are making an appeal to the Northwest’s medical community to boost vaccination rates. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization branch spoke at a public health conference in Coeur d’Alene Friday as part of the national campaign.
Last year, Washington and Oregon immunization rates were among the lowest in the nation. Idaho’s was average. That’s according to a CDC survey.
There have been 21 reported cases of whooping cough in Idaho so far this year. But in Washington State the number of whooping cough cases has reached epidemic levels. The disease is spreading so rapidly that health officials are urging adults and children to get vaccinated.
Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky announced today that as of last month, there have been 640 cases of whooping cough. That’s compared to 94 in the same period last year.