Increases Seen in Whooping Cough Cases in Rockland County

Increases Seen in Whooping Cough Cases in Rockland County

Twelve new whooping cough cases in Rockland County are being monitored by state and county health officials.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. The illness, especially dangerous for babies, starts with cold symptoms such as a runny nose and mild fever. After two weeks, a high-pitched "whoop"-sounding cough may develop. Coughing fits can be violent and may cause vomiting. According to the CDC, about 1% of babies below one year of age who contract whooping cough die.

So far this year, Rockland has recorded 25 cases of pertussis. In 2019, there were 54 documented cases, with the numbers dropping in the following years, likely due to the pandemic. 

The illness can be prevented with vaccination. However, Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel-Ruppert pointed out the pandemic has delayed vaccination for many babies. 

Rockland County does have low vaccination rates compared to other counties in NYS. According to the New York Health Foundation, Rockland County has the lowest vaccine coverage rate in the state, with a rate of 42%.

Photo Credit: CHLA

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