Vaccination Urged for Whooping Cough | Families
An alarming rise in the number of whooping cough cases - also called pertussis - has medical experts urging parents to get vaccinations up to date.
Dr. Sandra McKay, a pediatrician with SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center and professor at Saint Louis University, notes that whooping cough cases among children have risen each year over last decade - now about 25,000 cases nationally.
McKay explains in a press release that pertussis is a common bacteria that is always present in the population. Adults who are vaccinated as children have waning immunity and can contract mild disease.
When infants and young children who are not vaccinated become infected with the bacteria - either from carrier adults or from other children - their small lungs mount a massive immune response, producing copious amounts of mucus that they are unable to expel.
Fortunately, immunizations for whooping cough can protect children. The vaccine is given starting at 2 months of age, with a series of booster shots.
The formulation of the vaccine protects against other diseases too. The vaccine given to children is called "DTaP" or diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
Adolescents should receive a booster at 11 or 12 years of age - a requirement in many schools. The recommended booster vaccine for adolescents at 11 or 12 years of age and for adults, ages 19 to 64 and once every 10 years, is combined with the tetanus-diphtheria vaccine, and is called "Tdap" - tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Additional information can be found online. McKay recommends websites from the Centers for Disease Control or "CDC," the American Academy of Pediatrics and www.cardinalglennon.com.