Officials encourage flu vaccinations for adults
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,
MedicalNewsToday.com 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.