Washington whooping cough epidemic spurs release of extra funds, call for CDC help
(CBS/AP) SEATTLE -- The Washington State Health Department is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help battle the state's whooping cough epidemic that has sickened more than 1,100 people.
Health Secretary Mary Selecky is asking the CDC to send a special team of investigators and an epidemiologist. Selecky declared on April 3 that whooping cough, or pertussis, was an epidemic in the state, HealthPop reported. At the time there were 640 cases reported in 23 counties in the state. Now, more than 1,100 cases have been reported this year - 10 times the number at this time last year.
Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Thursday the state is putting $90,000 into a public awareness campaign and diverting some federal money to pay for 27,000 doses of vaccine.
"I've been following the epidemic closely and the continued increase in cases has me very concerned about the health of our residents," Gregoire said in a statement. "I'm especially concerned about the vulnerable babies in our communities that are too young to be fully immunized. These actions will help state and local health leaders get vaccine into people's arms so we can stem the tide."
Adults in the state are urged to get the shot to prevent spreading the disease to infants. That advice echoes the recommendation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in February, that said all U.S. adults should get the whooping cough vaccine. Only 8 percent of adults under 65 have been vaccinated, but about 70 percent of adolescents have, according to the CDC.
In 2010, a whooping cough epidemic in California contributed to the push to vaccinate more adults. That epidemic infected 9,000 people and killed ten babies, HealthPop reported.
The CDC has more on whooping cough.
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