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Whooping cough at epidemic levels in California, warn officials

Published on Jun 17, 2014 9:02 AM
 
Health workers prepare an injection during H1N1 flu innoculations in Rockville, Maryland, in this Oct 21, 2009 file photo. In California, public health officials warn that whooping cough poses the greatest risk to young children as the state deals with its worst outbreak of the respiratory disease since 2010. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Public health officials warn that whooping cough poses the greatest risk to young children as California deals with its worst outbreak of the respiratory disease since 2010, with nearly 3,500 reported victims so far this year.

"Prevention of pertussis is particularly important in young infants because they are the ones at risk for severe disease and death," Dr Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist and deputy director of the California Department of Public Health, said on Monday.

Infants, in particular, are the most vulnerable to the disease which causes severe, uncontrollable spasms of coughing that can make breathing difficult, and public health officials urged parents to make sure their youngsters are properly vaccinated.

Vaccines also are recommended for pregnant women and adults who have increased contact with young children.

 
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