Genetic Mutation May Explain Increase in U.S. Whooping Cough Cases

An old disease is making a comeback, possibly due to a bacterial mutation. Seventeen states and Washington D.C. are reporting an increase in whooping cough this year. It’s an epidemic in Texas, on pace to be the worst in half a century [1]. The very young are most at risk.

Whooping cough

New Treatment for Preschoolers with Acute Wheezing

Most acute wheezing episodes in preschool children lead to airway dehydration. Together with other factors, airway dehydration causes the body to have trouble clearing mucus. These children do not respond well to available treatments. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics evaluated the effect of administering inhaled hypertonic saline to wheezing preschool children, which promotes airway hydration and thus mucus clearance [1].

Breathing treatment
Creative Commons License photo credit: MinivanNinja

Washington State Pertussis Epidemic Highlights Importance of Vaccination

In early April, the Washington State Department of Health declared a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic. The state has seen over 1,200 cases so far this year, and officials suspect there will be at least another few thousand cases before year’s end; levels that haven’t been seen in over 60 years. In response to the declared epidemic, the state has been working to make vaccines more accessible to uninsured patients. Additional response measures have included urging employers to encourage employee vaccination and instructing hospitals to vaccinate new parents.