Kids Aren’t Vaccinated; Whooping Cough Cases Surge in York County
Whooping Cough, or Pertussis, is a highly infectious disease that causes patients to cough so violently to leads to vomiting and exhaustion. While it can be treated with antibiotics, the cough - which lasts up to 10 weeks - can persist beyond medication if not caught erly enough.
Kennebunk Elementary School and The Middle School of the Kennebunks reported outbreaks of Whooping Cough, or 'Pertussis', shortly after school started in September, according to the Press Herald. With 97 cases just this year, including 25 cases in September alone, the number of cases in York County of this highly infectious disease has skyrocketed this year.
In 2017, Maine had the highest rate of the disease in the nation at 27.7 per 100,000 population. This number is more than five times the national average of 4.9 cases per 100,000. The Press Herald adds that Maine had the third-highest rate in 2016. Luckily, the state's rate has gone down since last year but York County's number of cases is much higher than in years past.
The outbreak, according to Yarmouth pediatrician Dr. Laura Blaisdell, is likely due to too many parents opting out of childhood vaccines needed to start school. In order to form herd immunity and prevent the disease from spreading like wildfire, everyone needs to be vaccinated who is able. Babies and the elderly, in addition to others who cannot get vaccinations for health reasons, are especially vulnerable to serious cases leading to hospitalization or death.