Florida Whooping Cough Cases Hit Ten-Year High | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Florida Whooping Cough Cases Hit Ten-Year High

We've been predicting it for months, and new data from the Department of Health now confirm it. 

Whooping cough cases are the highest they've been in Florida for the past decade, and probably a lot longer than that. As of Tuesday, there have an astonishing 515 cases around the state, according to DOH spokeswoman Jessica Hammonds. 

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How far have we fallen? Consider that in 2002, there were only 53 cases of whooping cough recorded in Florida. 

Prior to 2012, the highest number of whooping cough cases recorded in a single year over the past decade was 497, and that was back in 2009. But that was an anomaly. Between 2002 and 2011, the average number of cases was 240.1.

So why are we more than double the average this year? 

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious disease. The good news is that there's a vaccine against it that works well. The bad news is that, as the Pulp previously reported, many children and even more adults aren't vaccinated. And while the vaccine works well, it's not foolproof. 

Most of us associate whooping cough with babies and children, but the fact is that adults are prone to the ailment. The vaccine should protect against the disease for a decade, but can you remember the last time you were vaccinated? 

As for Broward, there have been at 34 cases reported, but that figure is based on data released at the end of September. There have likely been more over the past month. 

Here's a look at the dramatic rise of whooping cough in Florida since 2002, from data collected  by the Department of Health:

2002- 53 cases
2003- 116 cases
2004- 132 cases
2005- 208 cases
2006- 228 cases
2007- 211 cases
2008- 314 cases
2009- 497 cases
2010- 329 cases
2011- 313 cases
2012- 515 cases (as of 10/30/12)

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Chris Sweeney

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