Many people think pertussis (or “whooping cough”) no longer exists. Actually, it remains poorly controlled in the community. Since the 1980s, there has been a steady increase in pertussis cases, and in 2012 the highest number of cases was reported in the U.S. since the 1950s. Infants less than 1 year old are at the greatest risk for severe illness, and continue to have the highest rate of diagnosis. School-aged children (age 7-10 years) also contribute a significant number of cases. Even though most children get protection through routine childhood vaccinations, the protection fades over time. This can lead to the risk of getting infected – in fact, most adults are not protected!
How can you protect yourself and your loved ones from this very contagious illness? The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated with the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccine.
If you are a new parent, grandparent, health care provider, or you work with children, the vaccination will help to protect you as well as the children you are around. Talk with your health care provider about getting a booster dose of Tdap vaccine. Recommendations have expanded the age to include adults over age 65. Also, the dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the traditional 10-year mark of Td (Tetanus and diphtheria) – so talk to your health care provider today!
For more information or to hear the sounds of pertussis (whooping cough), log onto www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis.