Progress and Prospects in Parkinson's Research/Causes/Infection/Whooping cough
Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a highly contagious bacterial infection. The bacterium responsible is Bordetella pertussis. It is transmitted by coughing and sneezing, It affects mainly young children, although adult cases are not unknown. In the past it occurred in periodic epidemics but these have greatly diminished since effective vaccination was introduced in the 1960s. In the United Kingdom the annual count of reported cases has dropped from 120,000 p.a. to 600 p.a. The estimated annual number of cases worldwide is 48 million.
De Pedro-Cuesta et al (1996)  analysed statistics on medical prescriptions for levodopa in Denmark and found that the highest incidence in proportion to the population was in Iceland. Icelandic health records are well documented and a notable feature is the occurrence of several outbreaks of whooping cough. The graph of these outbreaks was plotted against the graph of onset of PD cases and it was demonstrated that the peaks were replicated. No hypothesis could be advanced to account for this phenomenon, which at present constitutes an isolated piece of research.
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- De Pedro-Cuesta, Jesus; Gudmundsson, Gretar; Abraira, Victor; Gudmunsson, Gunnar; Love, Arthur; Hrafn, Tulinius: Veiga, Jorge; Almazan, Javier and Petersen, Ingolf J. (1996) Intern. J. of Epidem. 25 (6) 1301 -1311. Whooping Cough and Parkinson's http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/6/1301.full.pdf