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Whooping Cough Cases Surge in Broward, Florida

See also "Broward Whooping Cough Cases Shouldn't Surprise Anyone"

According to the most recent data from the Florida Department of Health, 260 cases of whooping cough have been reported throughout the state as of the end of June.

That's 120 more cases of the highly contagious respiratory ailment than there were at the same point last year -- which doesn't bode well for anybody.

Back in April, the Broward County Health Department issued an alert after it confirmed four cases, three among children, one in an adult.

In May, the county recorded an additional eight cases, which the Health Department said was "higher than expected." For the year, there have been 26 cases of whooping cough confirmed in the BroCo. Although that might seem like a lot, keep in mind that at this point last year, there was only a single case confirmed in the county.

This is terrible news for the state and for the county. Cases of the disease were relatively low (fewer than 50 statewide) about a decade ago, but it has been surging around the country in recent years.

Most frustrating it that there's a highly effective vaccine to protect against whooping cough. Problem is that it needs to be administered five times: at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years, according to the National Institutes of Health. Slipping up and missing one of those boosters could jeopardize the vaccine's ability to do its job.

Then there are the anti-vaccine parents who opt against having their children vaccinated, which weakens herd immunity and increases the risk for everyone.

Most recently, esteemed actor Rob Schneider championed the anti-vaccine push and claimed that the vaccines are dangerous and cause autism, a notion that's been discredited numerous times by doctors, not guys who played Deuce Bigalow.

With whooping cough cases poised to break recent records in Florida, parents should probably ask their doctors what's best.

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Chris Sweeney

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