State distributes more vaccine as whooping cough epidemic continues
July 13, 2012
NEW — 9 a.m. July 13, 2012
Statewide, health officials recorded more than 2,000 whooping cough cases since the secretary of health declared a pertussis epidemic April 3.
The epidemic is up to 2,883 reported cases and remains active. Officials urge vaccinations and other prevention measures to stop the spread of pertussis. The vaccine against the disease is called Tdap.
“Infants are most at risk for very serious illness from whooping cough, and many are made sick by an adult who didn’t know they were carrying the illness,” Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health office, said in a statement. “All teens and adults should get the Tdap shot. Even people who don’t have close contact with babies can spread the illness to babies when they’re in public.”
The state Department of Health ordered 14,000 more doses of whooping cough vaccine for uninsured adults to go with 27,000 doses already sent to local health and tribal partners.
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.
Vaccination is the best protection, but other effective ways exist to reduce the spread of pertussis. People suffering from whooping cough should stay home, wash hands often and see a doctor about a prolonged cough.