There are obvious reasons why this particular internet outbreak presents difficulties for US authorities. As of May 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had reported 60 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, across 17 states, including 10 who’d come down with pertussis while abroad – though not in the Middle East. The CDC is in the process of sending out letters to all travellers with confirmed cases of pertussis, encouraging them to stay home for 24 hours after their return. Which is, it must be said, a humane solution.
But close US officials say they’ve heard nothing from any of the 11 other countries whose nationals had contracted whooping cough in the Middle East, or from the Gulf States, or from Saudi Arabia, or from Jordan, or from the northern Emirates, or from the United Arab Emirates. While the World Health Organization, in a statement, said the communicable disease that the spread in these particular countries was “probably not” linked to cases in the US, it was “important” to contact countries with cases to “gather accurate information” and get countries’ involvement in stopping the spread of whooping cough.