Good news in California.
Nobody in California died from whooping cough in 2011 -- the first time in more than two decades that there were no deaths due to the disease, public health officials announced early Tuesday.
The previous year, 10 infants died from whooping cough, or pertussis. In addition, the number of people infected dropped from 9,000 in 2010 to 3,000 last year.
Whooping cough reached epidemic levels in 2010, prompting public health officials to launch a massive effort to reduce the number of cases and deaths. They advised physicians to look for early signs of the disease and offered free vaccines to hospitals and clinics. The California Department of Public Health also created public service announcements and partnered with local health departments to get out the word about the dangers of whooping cough. And the state passed a law requiring students in grades 7 to 12 to get vaccinated.
I have a new grandchild being born in a few months and my physician recommended a pertussis booster to be included when it was time for my tetanus shot.
It is important for people to realize that before routine vaccinations, many of these, then common diseases, really reeked havoc on children and adults alike.
Please make sure you are up to date of your own vaccinations.