The whopping cough epidemic in California is predicted to surpass a record of more than 55-years. This year alone, over 4,000 people have been infected with the highly contagious bacterial disease.
In addition, nine people have died in the most populous state. This highly contagious illness peaks every five years. According to health officials, in 2010 we are on track to exceed the record of just under 4,949 reported back in 1955.
Symptoms of whooping cough are similar to the common cold. The difference between the two is the cough lasts several weeks and it can be deadly with whooping cough. In children, the coughing often ends with a “whoop” noise. The sound is produced when the patient tries to take a breath. The whoop noise is rare in patients under six months of age and in adults.
“Whooping cough gets its name from the sound that a child makes when gasping for air and it can interfere with eating and sleeping and even breathing in cases, stated Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health.
Coughing spells may lead to vomiting or a short loss of consciousness. Pertussis should always be considered when vomiting occurs with coughing. In infants, choking spells are common. Other pertussis symptoms include runny nose, slight fever (102 F or lower) and Diarrhea.