Who Does Whooping Cough Affect and Is There a Vaccine?


Outbreaks of whooping cough were first described in the sixteenth century, and the organism was first isolated in 1906.
In the twentieth century, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood mortality in the United States. Before the availability of pertussis vaccine in the 1940s, more than 200,000 cases of pertussis were reported annually. Since widespread use of the vaccine began, the incidence of whooping cough has decreased by more than 80 percent compared with the pre-vaccine era.

Statistics on Whooping Cough

Whooping cough remains a major health problem among children in developing countries, with an estimated 285,000 deaths resulting from the disease in 2001.
In the United States, a total of 25,827 cases were reported in 2004, the largest number since 1959.
During 2001 to 2003, the highest average annual whooping cough incidence was among infants younger than one year of age (55.2 cases per 100,000 population) and particularly among children younger than six months of age (98.2 per 100,000 population). In 2002, 24 percent of all reported whooping cough cases were in this age group.
However, in recent years, adolescents (11 to 18 years of age) and adults (20 years and older) have accounted for an increasing proportion of whooping cough cases. During 2001-2003, the annual incidence of pertussis among people aged 10 to 19 years increased from 5.5 per 100,000 in 2001, to 6.7 in 2002, and 10.9 in 2003. In 2004, approximately 60 percent of whooping cough cases occurred in people 11 years of age and older.
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Whooping Cough Disease

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