2013 -- A Review of the Year in Health

The Lubbock Health Dept. says 2013 was a healthier year for the city, with fewer cases of West Nile and various air and foodborne illnesses. But the city was a plagued by an unexpected bout of Pertussis, otherwise known as "Whooping Cough."
By Victoria Price

LUBBOCK, Tx. -- The numbers are all in, and the city's Health Department says that in general, 2013 was a healthier year for the city of Lubbock.

"Our cases this year, other than the vaccine preventable diseases like pertussis, our cases are overall fewer in all categories," says the Dept.'s Beckie Brawley.

Food and airborne diseases - like salmonella - were way down in 2013, with about 100 fewer cases. Cases of West Nile virus were drastically down too.

"This year we had six cases [of West Nile]," says Brawley. "Last year we had 18. So, those cases are down as well. The difference between last year and this year is that we had one death this year, we had no deaths last year.

But the big story this year was pertussis -- more commonly known as "whooping cough."

"Pertussis has been very high this year, with the bulk of those being reported in December," according to Brawley. "The majority are up to date on their vaccines, but you have to remember that there is no vaccine that is 100 percent."

So, what are their predictions for the New Year?

"I know we'll still see some pertussis early in 2014. How far down the road in 2014, I don't know...but I know we'll still be seeing some cases in January, February, maybe March." Brawley says.  "Flu numbers are up, so if you haven't had your flu shot, get your flu shot. It's not too late, we're just now starting flu season."

But, the best advice for staying healthy in 2014 is also the simplest.

"The best way you can prevent illness and prevent spreading illness is to wash your hands," Brawley says.

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