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Researcher addresses rise in whooping cough, possible reasons

Ann Arbor, Mich.—Pejman Rohani, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, explains the resurgence of pertussis in the United States, and some of the likely causes for this rise.

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In the first seven months of 2012, the Centers for Disease Control has tracked nearly 18,000 cases of pertussis or whooping cough—more than double the rate in the same period last year. In April, the state of Washington declared pertussis to be an epidemic. Other states, including Wisconsin, Montana, Vermont, Minnesota and Iowa also have reported large increases in the number of cases, with Vermont issuing a warning Thursday about the disease.

Rohani and colleague Aaron King, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and of mathematics, have been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the highly contagious, bacterial disease, in an effort to further explain the changing patterns of whooping cough outbreaks.

 

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