Record number of whooping cough cases in San Diego despite immunization

Record number of whooping cough cases in San Diego despite immunization

San Diego County is experiencing its highest number of whooping cough cases on record, and most of the people who have gotten sick were immunized, the county’s public health officer said.

So far this year, 1,855 positive cases have been recorded, with more than 80 percent of the people up to date on their whooping cough shots.

In a series of investigative articles in 2010, inewsource and KPBS first revealed a high rate of vaccine failure. Researchers now agree the whooping cough vaccine used today is not as effective as the vaccine used almost 20 years ago.

The older vaccine, made of whole bacterial cells killed in labs, had side effects, including seizures and prolonged crying spells in babies.

“There were complications associated and that was why there was movement to the current acellular vaccinations,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer.

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About Joanne Faryon:

Joanne Faryon is a freelance reporter and former inewsource and KPBS reporter.