Eighty-five whooping cough cases confirmedPertussis (“whooping cough”) outbreaks are occurring all over the country and here in Pierce County.
Pertussis (“whooping cough”) outbreaks are occurring all over the country and here in Pierce County.
There are over 85 confirmed cases in the county so far in 2012, according to information from the Pierce County Public Health Department.
Pertussis is a contagious respiratory illness featuring a severe cough that can last four weeks or longer. Pertussis bacteria are spread from person to person through the air, primarily from coughing. After taking antibiotics for five days, whooping cough patients no longer spread the disease.
Newborns and infants are especially hard hit by this disease. While the disease can occur in all ages, infants less than 12 months are at highest risk for severe disease and death.
“Cocooning” is defined as the immunization of family members and close contacts of newborns. Cocooning surrounds and protects infants from disease until they have built up immunity through their own immunizations. All people who come in contact with infants should be part of the cocooning for those children.
“Tdap cocooning” means immunizing everyone a newborn (up to 12-months-old) comes in contact with so none of them transmit pertussis to the vulnerable infant. The infant should also be receiving a DTaP vaccination as part of their immunization schedule, starting at two months, to build immunity over time.
The health department is encouraging people age 10 and up to get a vaccine booster called “Tdap,” which offers protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis for themselves and the infants in their lives. Tdap can be given regardless of when the last Td was given. There is no need to wait 2–5 years to administer Tdap following a dose of Td.
Contact a health care provider to get Tdap now. If there isn’t a doctor, insurance or it cannot be afforded, contact the local county health department.