Parents have a new danger to watch out for: a return of whooping cough. The sickness is on the rise in California, and claimed nearly a dozen lives. Hundreds of children were hospitalized.
Vaccines rendered whooping cough a rarity for many years, but a recent uptick has researchers baffled. It's unclear why exactly there's been an increase in diagnosis. It could be a new strain of bacteria, or it could simply be better diagnostic tools, according to the CC Times.
Whooping cough may be hard to catch, particularly in infants. It will present as a simple cold at first, but will persist for weeks with respiratory congestion and frequent coughing. Babies lack the ability to cough, so their symptoms may be hidden.
These days, kids need to be vaccinated before attending California schools. Children entering 7th through 12th grade need to provide proof of vaccinations, which can be provided at low or no cost. But many parents have yet to comply.
Some parents have opted out of vaccines due to unfounded rumors about their safety. But those opt-outs are rare enough that they couldn't solely account for the surge in new cases.
For now, parents are recommended to keep infants away from any adult that has not been vaccinated.