In reviewing collected data from the Darien Department of Health, the town has found 20 reported cases of pertussis (whooping cough) since 2008. Officially, that is four cases per 21,000 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, data from 2009 reports that the national incidence of pertussis is 1.1 per 21,000 people.

Pre-1940, there were approximately 200,000 cases diagnosed in the United States per year. However, with the advent of the pertussis vaccine, that number dropped to approximately 1,000 cases per year by 1970. Given the morbidity and mortality of "whooping cough," the vaccine was a significant breakthough. However, in 2005, the Center for Disease Control shows that there were approximately 25,000 cases in the United States, which clearly indicates a resurgence of this disease.

There are several theories as to why, according to the health department. The primary concern is that antibodies derived from the childhood vaccination disappear as patients mature into adulthood. If so, the solution could be adults receiving booster shots. Another variable is the drop in childhood vaccination rates due to concerns regarding vaccines and a lack of awareness about the implications of the disease.

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Per the CDC, it's recommended that adults receive one pertussis booster during their lifetime. This is particularly important for adults in families where there are babies and infants who are particularly susceptible to the disease. They also recommend that children receive their vaccines via the DTAP series.

To update your pertussis vaccines and to learn more, speak with your local physician.