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Infant Whooping Cough Fatalities Rising

July 19, 2002|From Reuters

ATLANTA — The number of infants dying of whooping cough, once a major killer of children in the United States, is rising despite record high vaccination levels in the nation, federal health officials said Thursday.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speculated that the worrying trend might be an indication that the bacteria that causes whooping cough is becoming more common in the nation.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is marked by spasms of coughing followed by vomiting and a "whoop" as sufferers can finally suck in air. It occurs in all age groups.

In 2000, the latest year for which data were available, there were 7,867 reported cases and 17 fatalities, compared with 7,297 cases and 14 deaths the previous year.

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