Medicine: A Comeback for Whooping Cough

Fear of the vaccine mounts, and the number of cases doubles

When she was 5 1/2 months old, Traci Cohn of Rockville, Md., developed a 104 degrees F fever and cried inconsolably for three days. Ever since that illness Traci, now 17, has been mentally retarded. Her family and one of her doctors believe that the fever and subsequent mental damage were the direct result of the pertussis, or whooping cough, inoculations that she received in the first months of her life.

Whooping cough, named for the distinctive sound made by its victims as they gasp for air between bouts of violent coughing, was until the 1940s a major killer of children....

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