Whooping cough reported on Kodiak

In the news

Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2005

KODIAK (AP) —Cases of whooping cough, which has spiked nationwide, have now been reported recently on Kodiak Island.

In 2004, Alaska had 14 reported cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis. This year there have already been 82 cases of the contagious respiratory disease.

About half of those cases have been among adults.

For patient confidentiality purposes, the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services cannot release an exact count for Kodiak Island, although officials said there were fewer than five cases.

''We have had cases all over the place,'' said state epidemiologist Beth Funk. ''We're picking up a lot more cases, but we also have a brand-new test and a lot more interest from providers in testing patients.''

Funk said the new test is more sensitive and detects more cases.

Whooping cough was a serious threat especially to young children until a vaccine debuted in the 1930s.

In 1934, more than 8,000 people died from whooping cough, according to the National Vaccine Information Center.

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