Staff Report

After California’s recent whooping cough outbreak and the large amount

of flu cases popping up across the nation, health officials have urged

adults to get vaccinated in order to protect vulnerable patients like

babies and the elderly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone

over the age of six months receive a flu shot, but the CDC’s National

Health Interview Survey found that only a third of Americans in that age

group received a shot in 2009, USA Today reports.

A smaller percentage than that – 7 percent of adults in 2009 – are

vaccinated against whooping cough, which has sickened at least 6,800

people and killed 10 infants in California.

“Adults are now susceptible (to whooping cough) because their baby

shots are wearing off,” Patrick Joseph, vice president of the National

Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said, according to USA Today.

“Adults are now susceptible, because their baby shots are wearing off.

When adults get whooping cough, it’s incredibly contagious, and they’re

spreading it to children.”

Susan Rehm, a doctor at the infectious disease foundation, told USA

Today that many adults aren’t aware that they need to be vaccinated

against diseases like whooping cough.

California has confirmed a total of 6,795 suspected and probable cases

of pertussis this year. There have been 164 new cases reported in the

last week alone. California’s most recent peak was in 2005, when there

were 3,182 cases. The highest peak outside of this year in California

occurred in 1947, when there were 9,394 cases.

California is reporting the largest number of pertussis cases it has

seen in the last 63 years, since before vaccination became widespread, reports. Since the United States nearly rid itself

of pertussis 30 years ago, the country has seen the spread of the

disease steadily increase, partly due to declining vaccination rates.

Nine of the 10 young California victims were under two months old and

most of the hospitalizations have been babies under two months of age.