Rochester, N.Y. – In response to an upswing in whooping cough nationwide, New York Health Commissioner Nirav Shah is urging parents to vaccinate their children against the disease.
New York, in particular, has seen a spike in cases.
Since Jan. 1 of this year, Monroe County has documented 50 cases – the total number of cases in 2011.
The number is even more dramatic in Livingston County where the health department has logged 111 cases.
Dr. Michael Pichichero, a pediatrician in Brighton, says the upward trend is due in large part to parents who send their kids to school without the proper vaccination.
“The trend of whooping cough is probably because of vaccine refusers and the fact that the vaccine does wear off so there are opportunities for these kids to mix together and contract the infection,” Dr. Pichichero said.
Whooping cough, which is also called pertussis, can be fatal for babies and prolonged for others.
It’s commonly seen in teenagers.
Livingston County Health Direcot Joan Ellison says what remains a mystery is why the number of cases has risen during summer break.