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New whooping cough fears as kids start school

August 23, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — As Bay Area children settle in for a new year of school, public health officials statewide are preparing for fresh outbreaks of whooping cough in the face of the worst epidemic of the disease in 50 years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
As of August 17, there had been more than 3,000 cases in California, or about eight cases per 100,000 people, which is seven times more than last year, the article stated.
Public health officials said the number of cases will continue to climb now that children are returning to school: They''re urging older kids and adults to get a booster vaccination, known as Tdap, the article noted.
According to the article, to forestall possible outbreaks in schools, children who aren''t up to date on all of their childhood vaccinations may be kept out of school if whooping cough is found in their classroom.
"We are not in the business of keeping kids out of school, and we don''t want to impact children''s learning, but at some point we do need to try to at least decrease transmission of this disease," said Dr. Susan Fernyak, director of communicable disease control and prevention at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
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