By: Joanne Faryon, KPBS, and Kevin Crowe, Watchdog Institute
The number of cases of the disease in San Diego County this year has reached a record 1,046 as of mid-December and may triple the region’s previous record by year’s end, according to the county Department of Health and Human Services.
Data collected from around this state and several others show that many people who have come down with whooping cough had been immunized.
Reporters from KPBS and the Watchdog Institute, a nonprofit investigative center based at San Diego State University, collected and analyzed reports from areas with high rates of infection, and they traveled from Los Angeles to the Netherlands to find out why so many people are getting sick.
Two of the world’s most respected experts on the whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, have very different views. Dr. James Cherry, a prominent researcher at UCLA, says increased awareness of whooping cough has led to more reports of it. However, Dr. Fritz Mooi, a well-known Dutch scientist who has been studying mutations of the pertussis bacteria for 15 years, said a more virulent strain of bacteria is contributing to outbreaks.
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