The solution to the rising incidence of pertussis: vaccination
The rise in whooping-cough cases continue because parents are not following through on vaccinations. As public health imperatives go, this one is mercifully simple: get your loved ones vaccinated against the disease.
Seattle Times Editorial
THERE is no mystery to the cause of Washington's continued rise in pertussis cases. The solution is vaccination.
As of Wednesday, the state Department of Health recorded 3,184 cases of pertussis, better known as whooping cough. Washington's is among the highest rates in the nation. That rate is three times higher than our worst year, which was last year when 965 people came down with the disease. In 2010, the state recorded 608 cases.
We're seeing a rise because people aren't following through on that critical public health imperative: Get vaccinated.
Parents have a responsibility to inoculate themselves and their children. The rise in whooping cough is highest among adolescents. Public-health officials believe the series of DTaP vaccine shots kids receive from birth to kindergarten wears off somewhere around age 8 or 9. The vaccine for teens and adults, Tdap, is recommended at age 11. The federal Centers for Disease Control is right to consider lowering the recommended age. August is around the corner. At the top of parents' back-to-school lists ought to be updating all vaccines. Since the state Legislature tightened up on vaccine exemptions, immunization rates have been inching up.
In contrast to all of the mysteries of life, the whooping cough outbreak has a mercifully simple solution. Get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated against the disease.