August 28, 2017

Whooping cough cases are up 15 percent in the first six months of in 2017, and health officials are urging parents to get children vaccinated against the highly-contagious respiratory infection before school starts, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Dr. Donald Milton, an SPH professor of environmental health, said the biggest threat to controlling the illness is people who choose not to get vaccinated. He told the Sun that he doesn't know what extent the growing anti-vaccine movement, whose beliefs are based on discredited theories that link vaccines to autism, is playing out in Maryland.

“Those of us who can get vaccinated are not only protecting ourselves,” he said, “but we’re protecting the vulnerable people in our population who cannot be vaccinated.”

Several other faculty members at the University of Maryland were quoted in the story, including Dr. Don Kettl, a professor of public policy who has written about the importance of vaccinating against pertussis. 

“We need to take care and make sure this doesn’t become a larger trend,” Dr. Kettl said. 

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State health officials monitor uptick in whooping cough cases, encourage continued immunization

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Donald Milton