Lack of Vaccination Thought to Cause Whooping Cough in Community

WILLIAMSBURG -

A whooping cough outbreak has hit the Orthodox Jewish centers of Boro Park and Williamsburg, mostly because a significant number of families refuse to vaccinate their children, the New York City Health Department said in an alert issued Friday.

The department said that they have detected 21 confirmed cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, from October 2014 through April 2015. That includes 18 children and three adults.

“Among the children,” the alert noted, “12 were unvaccinated, two were vaccinated but not up to date.”

The department said that 10 of the children were infants under 12 months. None of the mothers of the infants had received the recommended TDAP vaccination while they were expectant. Two infants were hospitalized, of which one had pneumonia.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes violent coughing and can be fatal for infants, the department said.