NM whoop cough cases up as fewer get shots - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

NM whoop cough cases up as fewer get shots

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Health officials say a three-fold increase in the number of New Mexico children exempt from required vaccinations may be a factor in the state's jump of whooping cough cases.

Albuquerque Journal reports that a recent New Mexico Department of Health report shows the number of New Mexico children exempt from required vaccinations has tripled since 1999 to nearly 3,400.

Meanwhile, the state has seen a spike in pertussis, or whooping cough, from 85 cases in 2009 to 274 cases in 2011.

About 112 pertussis cases were reported this year through May 5. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial illness that attacks the respiratory system.

New Mexico law allows parents to exempt their children from required vaccinations by claiming a religious or personal belief that forbids vaccinations.

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