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The county of San Luis Obispo encloses various parks; lakes; forest preservation sites and beaches. A rather historic town; most of its parts have been preserved; with the classic reddish brown mud bricks lining the walls of most buildings. However; most of the area is comprised of open spaces suitable for crowds and greater droplet transmission of diseases. Fortunately; there are various health care centers in existence; including the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center; French Hospital Medical Center; and a lot others. Problem

With the extreme spike in the documented cases of pertussis; it can be said that among the greatest problems of the community of San Luis Obispo is the condition called pertussis or whooping cough. This conforms with the indicators of Healthy people 2010 objective (immunization and environmental quality) and its goal to increase quality and years of healthy life (Healthy People, 2010). Pertussis is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract; most commonly mistaken as common cough. For most adults; the disease is not that serious.

However; this disease can be extremely fatal for infants whose airway tracts are still small; who are too young for immunizations and whose immune systems have not yet been fully developed. Historical Significance The first ever pure culture of pertussis bacteria was done in 1906 by the Doctors Octave Gengou and Jules Bordet. Thesy were also responsible for the development and creation of the pertussis vaccine. By 2002; the bacteria’s full genome was sequenced; shedding light to the ways by which the organism mutates; transmits and how it can be killed or controlled (bookrags.

com, 2007). Studies of the disease; its symptoms and treatment also increased in frequency from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries. Then, vaccines became the next consideration of scientists. Scientists endeavored to induce the creation of longer-lasting antibodies through inactivated cultures of pertussis. By the 1920’s; Dr. Louise W. Sauer created such a vaccine. He was followed in 1925 by Thorvald Madsen; who was the first ever to be able to test the pertussis vaccine in a wide scale (Baker, 2004).

Various developments then followed; and by the 1940’s; the pertussis vaccine was combined with that of diphtheria; and tetanus; creating the Diptheria; Pertussis; Tetanus (DPT) vaccine. However; the vaccine could only be effective for ten years; and the vaccine needed three shots before it can be fully effective. And by the 1970’s to 1980’s; serious side efects of pertussis vaccines began to surface; including seizures and severe allergic reactions. Due to these factors; some parents chose to forgo their children’s immunization.

This eventually led to a recurrence of pertussis epidemic cases in the 1980’s. The following years gave birth to a new form of DTP vaccine; with longer effectivity and lesser side effects. However; the issues and controversies on pertussis vaccines (including the allegations that it causes autism and brain damage) continued even until today (Neipris; 2009). In fact, there now exists organizations that rally and lobby specifically for the removal and ban of vaccines. This lack of vaccination and appropriate protection may have eventually led to the current outbreak of pertussis cases in California.

As early as the 25th of May; San Luis Obispo officials already issued a public health warning on the growing cases of pertussis. However; despite this; cases still continued to rise – eventually reaching an alarming 600 number of cases; with five fatalities as of July 20, 2010 (Russ, 2010). Natural Life History In the directive by the Center for Diasease Control (CDC); the different symptoms; transmission; treatment and prevention of pertussis were discussed. According to Louis Neipris; a medical doctor; pertussis is caused by the microorganism Bordetella pertussis.

Once the bacteria enters the nasal and oral passages; it lodges itself in the respiratory tract and begins multiplying and producing toxins. As the disease progresses; the following early symptoms become apparent: “colds; runny nose; sneezing; sore throat; dry cough;” and the later signs manifesting as “cough that becomes severe and interrupted by a ‘whoop’ sound when inhaling or vomiting (Neipris, 2009). ” The CDC directive presents various treatments and preventive options for pertussis.

According to the CDC; the best way to prevent pertussis is still through proper immunization; especially since new vaccines have been developed with lesser side effects. However; for this vaccine to be fully effective; five shots are needed (Center for Disease Control, 2010). For infected individuals; the prevention of the spread of the microorganism can be achieved through covering of mouth and nose when coughing; frequent handwashing; and wearing of surgical mask (Neipris, 2009). Finally; treatment of pertussis includes “antibiotics and rest.

Everyone – including all household contacts – should take antibiotics; and for as long as prescribed (Neipris, 2009). ” However; for severe cases; especially for infants; immediate hospitalization and close monitoring is required. Summary In all; the pertussis/whooping cough epidemic; especially in San Luis Obispo; may be attributed to the lack of immunization and information of individuals. Some parents refuse to immunize their children, adults who may be fully immunized do not seek their booster shots and some infants are too young to be given vaccines.

All of these can be solved with one thing: health education. Parents fear vaccination because they lack information and understanding regarding vaccines, adults do not know that without a booster, the effectivity of the vaccine wanes; and mothers need to know how to keep their unimmunized infants free from infections. Therefore, efforts must be focused on better health education programs, so that communities may finally open their minds within them lies the choice to be protected or not. References Baker, J. (2004). Childhood Vaccine Development: an Overview. Pediatric Research.

Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://dx. doi. org/10. 1203. pdr Bookrags. com. (2007). Jules Bordet. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://bookrags. com. Center for Disease Control. (2010). Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – What You Need to Know. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://www. cdc. gov/features/pertussis/ Healthy People. (2010). Healthy People Objectives 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://www. healthypeople. gov. Neipris, L. (2009). Vaccines Against Whooping Cough. myOptumHealth. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://www. kcoy. com/Global/story. asp? S=12447062 San Luis Obispo. (2009).

City of San Luis Obispo (SLO) Demographic Profile 2008-2009. p. 1 San Luis Obispo. (2009). City of San Luis Obispo. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://www. slocity. org/ Russ; M. (2010; July). Whooping Cough is Now an Epidemic in California. KPBS Retrieved July 21, 2010, from http://www. kpbs. org/news/2010/jul/20/whooping-cough-now-epidemic-california San Luis Obispo Public Health Department. (2009). Community Health Status Report. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from SLO+HSR+2009. pdf State of California. (2010). California Pertussis Summary Report. Retrieved July 21, 2010, from PertussisSummaryReport20100630. pdf

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