Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
By: Farwell, Jackie
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of whooping cough cases reported in the state so far this year has jumped to 80 from 49 during the same period in 2011. While most of the cases involve middle school-age children, the illness is a major concern for infants too young to be immunized who typically are infected through contact with family members. Thus, health officials are stressing the importance of immunization, which is required for kindergarten students. The state allows exemptions for religious, philosophical, and medical reasons, with the exemption rate climbing to 3.5 percent in the 2009-2010 school year, from 3.33 percent the prior year.