The American Academy of Pediatrics is warning of the worst outbreak of whooping cough in 40 years, while those concerned about border control see it as more evidence that vanquished diseases are spreading due to widespread illegal immigration.

Whooping Cough, or pertussis, is particularly dangerous for children and can be fatal in infants, warns the doctors group.

“This illness is called pertussis because it is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, which attacks the lining of the breathing passages, producing severe inflammation and narrowing of the airways,” says the caution from the AAP. “Severe coughing is a prominent symptom. Because the child is short of breath, she inhales deeply and quickly between coughs. These breaths frequently make a “whooping” sound, which is how this illness got its common name. Older children might not have the whoop sound. The intense coughing scatters the pertussis bacteria into the air, spreading the disease to other susceptible persons.”

The group says whooping cough often acts like a common cold for a week or two. Then the cough gets worse, and the child may start to have the characteristic “whoops.” During this phase (which can last two weeks or more), the child often is short of breath and can look bluish around the mouth. Infants with pertussis become exhausted and develop complications, such as susceptibility to other infections, pneumonia and seizures. The cough may not disappear for months and may return with subsequent respiratory infections.

Hospitals, doctors and other health professionals are worried about the resurgence of some serious infectious diseases, and some believe illegal immigrants are the cause.

A rise in diseases such as whooping cough, tuberculosis, malaria, measles and even leprosy are creating public health concerns and have hit hospitals and health care systems already financially burdened by indigent illegals flooding emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

Madeleine Pelner Cosman, author of a report in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, is one of those professionals who has linked the increase in diseases with illegal immigration.

“Certain diseases that we thought we had vanquished years ago are coming back, and other diseases that we’ve never seen or rarely seen in America, because they’ve always been the diseases of poverty and the third world, are coming in now,” she said.

As WorldNetDaily reported last month, even leprosy is suddenly on the radar of health officials.

Cosman recommends closing the border to all illegal traffic, rescinding the citizenship of “anchor babies,” those born in the U.S. to parents of illegals, and making the aiding and abetting of illegals a crime and an end to all future amnesty programs.

“We have a terrible, absolutely vicious, law called EMTALA: the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which is really the culprit that requires every emergency room, and every physician of an emergency room, to treat illegal aliens for free,” she said.

Cosman said 84 hospitals in California have been forced to close because of the high cost of treating illegal aliens with only 50 percent of all treatments reimbursed by government.

“Even physicians in those emergency rooms, don’t fully get the point that by being compassionate, and generous, and gracious, they are, in essence, destroying their own livelihoods as well as their own hospitals,” she said.

While politicians often mention there are 43 million without health insurance in this country, the Cosman’s report estimates that at least 25 percent of those are illegal immigrants. The figure could be as high as 50 percent.

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