Pertussis, also known as the “whooping cough”, is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is passed from person to person through coughing and sneezing (Gregory, 2013). Early symptoms are similar to those from common colds, but when Pertussis progresses, it can turn to deep cough and potentially vomiting with little or no fever. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The disease can be very serious in children less than 1 year of age where it can cause lung infections and, less often, seizures or inflammation of the brain. In rare cases, pertussis can result in death, especially in infants (VDH, 2012). The purpose of this investigation is to help people understand the potential risk of having Pertussis, urge people take necessary actions to prevent the disease, and cite recommendations from CDC for health professionals to follow in their work. Community
The Richmond tri-city Metro area. The area covers the city of Richmond, surrounded by 2 counties, Chesterfield and Henrico. This area has relative dense population with over 200 schools, which creates an ideal environment for the break of a contagious illness such as Pertussis. While it is desired to focus on the topic to a smaller area, the data for Pertussis isn’t readily available at county or city level, so for this discussion, the community of interest is the entire Virginia state. Demographic and Epidemiological data
Virginia has just over 7 million in population from the 2000 census. If we follow the recommendation from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: pertussis vaccine for persons 65 or older who have close contact with infants, pregnant women, new mothers who are breastfeeding and health care or childcare professionals who have direct contact with infants and young children, there’re about 1.2 million people that fall under this category just by age, and it is estimated that over 4 million people will have direct and indirect contact with those who’re under high risk of catching pertussis. The overall trend for Pertussis in recent year is on increase, which is also the trend across the country. There were more than 41,000 reported cases in the United States in 2012, up from 18,719 for the previous year (Gregory, 2013). Virginia reported 566 cases, compared to 384 in 2010 and 127 in 2007 (VDH, 2012). In fact, 2012 was worst year for whooping cough since 1955 (Foxnews, 2013). Windshield Survey
Like it was indicated previously, while I intended to focus on the central Virginia area, due to lack of data, I had to expand the scope to the entire state. The windshield survey however is limited to the central Virginia area. In fact, only part of the area that I am familiar with. The place I live and commonly drive around is Midlothian, it’s part of the Chesterfield county, and was founded over 300 years ago as a coal mining village. The demographics are predominantly European American. The median household income in 2005 was $80,381. It was ranked #37 in CNN Money’s list of “The best places to live” in 2005, and #99 in 2008. The unemployment rate is relatively low at around 5%, compared to the nation’s average. Most of areas are suburban, with some rural areas as well. Given the weather, when I was driving around the neighborhood, I did not see many people, other than a few here and there walking their dogs. In a few shopping places, I noticed that most of them are white, which matched the demographic data found from other resources. Home I observed are mostly small family houses, the median home price is around $200K; while certain neighborhood, it can go up to $400K. $1MM+ properties exist, though not very common in this area. Many people are employed by the state, and Richmond is the Capital of Virginia, there’re several big private employers in this areas, including Capital One, CarMax, Genworth etc. We have 3 big hospital systems in the region: The Bon Secours Hospital...