Mass. Pertussis Cases More Than Double This Year To 560

Brady Alcaide, of Chicopee, Mass., died earlier this year at two months old of pertussis.

Cases of pertussis — better known as whooping cough — have more than doubled in Massachusetts this year. WBUR’s Mark Degon reports:

Pertussis is a contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory system that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing.

There were 273 cases of whooping cough in Massachusetts last year. This year, Kevin Cranston with the infectious disease bureau at the state Department of Public Health says, there are more than 560 cases.

“We have sent out advisories throughout the state to clinicians urging them to be attentive to the possibility of pertussis, to treat it aggressively and early,” he said.

One infant death this year is blamed on the disease. Health officials say the sharp increase may be the result of vaccinations wearing off.

“There’s increasing evidence that the immunity conferred by that vaccine is waning over time,” Cranston said, “and that may be explaining why we’re seeing increased cases at this time.”

Further reading:

From first cold to grave: How two-month-old Brady died of pertussis

Pertussis vaccine update: Immunity drops sharply after last childhood dose

The whooping cough misnomer, and other facts about pertussis

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