The Pertussis Outbreak

Essay by jeannie_nicuUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2008

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The Pertussis OutbreakPertussis is an acute respiratory infection, and remains endemic in the United States despite routine childhood vaccinations for more than half a century” (Broder et al., 2006). Out breaks of Pertussis were first described in the 16th century, and the organism was first isolated in 1906.

The increased incidence of pertussis continues to be a significant problem in Wisconsin. Greenwood, a small community in Clark County Wisconsin is doing everything it can to keep their junior and senior high schools open. The school district has more than one third of the students from the junior and senior high schools staying home. That is because in November, 2007 they have 32 confirmed cases of Pertussis, better known as Whooping Cough (Lauber, 2007).

Before there was a vaccination, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood mortality in the United States. The vaccine became available in the 1940s, before that there were more than 200,000 cases reported annually and over 4000 pertussis-related deaths.

Since the widespread use of the vaccine began, the incidence of pertussis has decreased more than 80% (Broder et al, 2006).

Pertussis continues to have a high morbidity and mortality rate in many countries every year (Pertussis, 2005). Since the 1980s the number of cases has increased, and in the United States, the cases have tripled since 2001. These increases have been noted in infants younger than six months, adolescents 11 – 18, and adults. An increase has also been noted in the reported deaths from pertussis among very young infants that paralleled the increase in the number of reported cases (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis, 2006) . This increase is thought to be attributed to the waning vaccine-induced immunity among adolescents and adults, heightened awareness of pertussis among healthcare providers,