SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – State health officials are crediting extensive public outreach for a dramatic drop in whooping cough cases last year, after a deadly year in 2010.

Ten babies died in 2010 when there were 9,000 California cases of pertussis. Last year there were 3,000 cases and for the first time in 20 years there were no deaths from the sickness.

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Dr. Gil Chavez is deputy director for infectious diseases for the state. He said that this wonderful new statistic is thanks to the push to get pregnant women, hospital workers and the elderly immunized.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

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“We actually made recommendations that senior citizens, who are a group that normally wouldn’t be vaccinated, do so, because they are a group that is more and more taking care of infants,” said Chavez. “So that is a big thing in terms of driving up our vaccination rates.”

In addition, there was the new state law that requires 7th through 12th graders to get vaccinated before the school year. That was combined with the push for pediatricians to recognize whooping cough earlier, and treat it sooner.

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