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Map Shows California Has Become Hotbed For Whooping Cough, Measles, Group Blames Anti-Vaxxers

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A new map shows how California has become a hotbed for whooping cough and measles, diseases that are completely preventable by a vaccine.

The interactive map, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, shows California has been a major cluster of whopping cough this year, with 7,980 cases so far this year. By far, California has the highest number of whooping cough cases reported in the U.S.

The map also shows Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have reported cases of measles this year. According to the California Department of Public Health, there have been 61 cases reported statewide.

In an editorial in the Los Angeles Times, Laurie Garrett and Maxine Builder of the council blamed "anti-vaccine sentiments" behind the rise in such cases in the Western world.

"The effects of Andrew Wakefield's now thoroughly debunked 1998 Lancet study claiming links between vaccinations and autism are still being felt in the Western world, as can be seen in our interactive map. Outbreaks of pertussis in wealthy California communities, of mumps in Ohio college towns and of measles throughout the United Kingdom demonstrate the broad impact of the anti-vaccination movement," the researchers wrote.

The Department of Public Health recommends giving the whooping cough vaccine to pregnant women, infants as young as six weeks of age, students entering the 7th grade, and adults.

For measles, the department recommends students, health care workers and unvaccinated residents traveling outside of the Americas to receive the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Infants as young as six months of age can also receive the MMR vaccine.

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