On Tuesday, news that school nurses everywhere have been hoping to prevent despite the push for parents to keep up to date with the shot records of their children, 22 cases of Whooping Cough have been confirmed this year across the Panhandle-South Plains region, with four cases right here in Lubbock and all the affected are children under age 13.
That's a huge increase over last year when there were just eight cases in the 41 county region that stretches up through the Panhandle.
|A Closer Look at Whooping Cough|
Whooping Cough is a bacterial illness passed from person to person by droplets from coughing, sneezing, or just talking. The Department of Health says parents need to know how serious this is, that in the 22 area cases this year, one infant has died.
Ken Condon, from the City of Lubbock Health Department, says that Whooping Cough is a communicable disease and something that we don't see everyday. The last case that we saw in Lubbock was in 2000 and we haven't had a case since then, so four cases since June would be considered an outbreak.
So, TDH is advising parents of small children, particularly under six months, to keep those infants away from anyone with a coughing illness. You see, a big part of the problem is some older children or adults might think they just have a nagging cough, but it may actually be Whooping Cough, so they unknowingly are spreading the disease to young children who are most vulnerable. That's why immunizations are so important.
When young kids get that vaccine referred to as DTP, it's the P that gives them protection against Pertussis, which is the scientific name for Whooping Cough.
The vaccination includes a series of four doses, between six weeks and two months, then at four months, also at six months, and again between 15 and 18 months, with a booster at four years.