While everyone has experienced coughing as a part of seasonal illnesses and allergies, whooping cough is an entirely different matter. This disease is marked by the dramatic whooping sound that victims make during coughing spells, which can lead to cracked ribs, pneumonia, and sometimes death.
2012 marks a record year for whooping cough, whose official name is pertussis. There have been more than twice as many documented cases this year than last, and the rate at which people are contracting the disease sets the U.S. on track for the most pertussis cases in 50 years.
While there is a vaccine for whooping cough, its effectiveness at preventing the disease wanes after five years, leaving adolescents vulnerable. So far, there have been 9,000 adolescent cases this year. However, infants remain at the highest risk, as they cannot receive the vaccination until they are at least two months old. All 13 deaths attributed to pertussis this year were babies.
Despite the risk, adults who carry the disease are vaccinated at an extremely low rate, just 8 percent. There is also debate among parents as to whether to get their children vaccinated. While most parents choose to get their kids the shot, some think the vaccination is ineffective and would rather treat the symptoms afterwards.
"Everybody needs to be vaccinated from it, because you don't want somebody else to lose a baby because of your ignorance of not vaccinating." - Chelsey Charles, mother.
1. What is whooping cough? Have you ever had it?
2. What is a vaccination and what does it do?
3. What are some vaccinations you have gotten before coming to school?
1. Do you think that people should be able to choose whether or not they get a vaccination? Why or why not?
2. Which of the parents do you agree with in the video? Would you prefer to get the vaccination or not?