State urges vaccinations amid whooping cough epidemic

April 10, 2012

By Staff

State health officials said whooping cough cases have reached epidemic proportions throughout Washington, and they urged residents April 3 to get vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.

The state Department of Health recorded 640 cases in 23 counties through March 31 — the highest number of reported cases in decades. King County experienced 88 cases through March 31.

Officials recorded 94 whooping cough, or pertussis, cases statewide during the same period last year.

Pertussis is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The disease is most serious for infants, especially children too young to receive the vaccination. Pertussis causes cold-like systems followed by a long, severe cough.

The pertussis vaccine, Tdap, is recommended for all children and adults.

State health officials recommend for people 11 and older to get a pertussis booster. The vaccination is especially important for people in close contact with infants younger than 12 months.

Public Health – Seattle & King County offers pertussis information at www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/diseases/pertussis. Find information from the Department of Health at www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/Immunize. Or call 360-236-3595.

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