LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock Health Department would like to notify citizens and clinicians of an increase in Pertussis cases this spring. There have been 22 reported cases in Lubbock County so far in 2010. There were 29 total reported cases of Pertussis in 2009.
Pertussis cases generally increase in the spring and fall months. Pertussis, which is also known as Whooping Cough, is spread by infected persons coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the Pertussis bacteria. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings or parents who might not even know they have the disease.
Pertussis can cause serious illness in children and adults. The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and sometimes mild cough or fever. The cough worsens, becoming severe after 1–2 weeks. Children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they're forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. Pertussis is worse for very young children, who may have symptoms serious enough to be hospitalized.
Antibiotic treatment is very important for infected persons and for their close contacts. Persons infected with Pertussis should not be around others, especially infants. Parents can also help protect infants by keeping them away from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing.
Although vaccinated persons can sometimes get Pertussis, the best way to prevent it is to get vaccinated. In the U.S., the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. This is a safe and effective combination vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. For maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots. The first three shots are given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given when a child enters school, at 4–6 years of age.
Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria can fade with time. Since 2005, a booster vaccine has been available for adolescents (10-18 years) and adults (19-64 years) that contains tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap). Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years should get a dose of Tdap. Adults who didn't get Tdap as a pre-teen or teen should get one dose of Tdap instead of the Td booster. Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for families with new infants.
See your health care practitioner if you suspect that you or your child may have Pertussis. More information about Pertussis can be found at www.cdc.gov.
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