Whooping Cough On The Rise In Arkansas, Other States

Oct 30, 2013

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The number of cases of whooping cough in Arkansas has more than doubled from a year ago.

Dr. Gary Wheeler with the Arkansas Department of Health says at this time last year, there were 141 reported cases. And so far this year, there are 342 cases.

"This [increase] is not a unique pattern to Arkansas. We are seeing this across the country. The patterns of increase are occurring in different regions at different times. We have clearly seen a huge upswing in the number of cases in children in elementary school and adolescents," says Wheeler. 

Dr. Wheeler says there is a lot of speculation as to why whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is on the rise.

He says the pertussis vaccine was changed a few years ago, and it could be that its protection may not be as long-lasting as was originally thought.