Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial illness spread by coughing and sneezing. People sick with pertussis have severe coughing attacks that can last for months. Click here
for more information on Whooping Cough (Pertussis) from the Centers for Disease Control.
Vaccination is the best defense against whooping cough. However, the immunity from vaccines wears off over time and pertussis booster vaccine rates in adolescents and adults continue to be low. As a result, pertussis continues to circulate widely in Merced County and statewide, resulting in the hospitalization and death of young infants who are too young to get their shots.
In response to the high levels of disease and death from pertussis in California during 2010, it is recommended that everyone make sure that they are immunized against pertussis, especially if they are in contact with infants.