Well, it's official. California's whooping cough outbreak is now officially classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control. Thanks anti-vaxxers.
California has reported 3,458 cases of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, so far this year, with about 800 cases in the past two weeks alone. Babies are at the greatest risk of death from the disease, and two babies have indeed died in California so far this year.
"We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated," Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health told the L.A. Times. "We also urge parents to vaccinate infants as soon as possible."
Babies can't be vaccinated until they reach 6 weeks of age, which is why public health officials often urge pregnant mothers to get vaccinated, giving their newborns some degree of immunity.
As Time notes, the last whooping cough epidemic in California back in 2010 was a direct result of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. That epidemic affected over 9,000 kids, due in no small part to the anti-vaccination movement that is currently spreading misinformation about vaccines. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the vaccines are safe, anti-science idiots continue to insist that they cause things like autism.
And it's not just California that's suffering from a resurgence of whooping cough. It's been a particularly terrible year nationally as well. From the beginning of 2014 until April 14, 2014 the CDC reports that there have been 4,838 cases of whooping cough in the U.S. — a 24 percent increase over the same period last year.
Image: High school student gets a vaccination in Sacramento in 2011 via the Associated Press