Officials encourage protection against whooping cough |

Officials encourage protection against whooping cough

Tribune News Service

Reported cases of whooping cough in neighboring California have tripled since last year, according to state health officials, including five infants who died.

In California, 584 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, were confirmed between Jan. 1 and May 31 – three times the 190 confirmed cases reported last year in the same time frame.

Hit especially hard were the Bay Area, Los Angeles County, Orange County and Fresno County.

The infants who died were all newborns who caught the disease from adults. Infants under 6 months of age are not fully protected against pertussis and are vulnerable to this disease.

For this reason, Carson City public health officials urge anyone who is or will be around newborn infants, especially parents, grandparents and siblings, to get vaccinated with Tdap, the booster shot that helps prevent the spread of pertussis.

Carson City Health and Human Services on East Long Street routinely administers Tdap.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can be difficult to diagnose. Occasionally symptoms are deceivingly mild. It usually begins with a cough which worsens over one or two weeks.

Symptoms usually involve a long series of coughs followed by a whooping sound. There is generally no fever. The coughing can be so relentless as to cause a person to vomit, turn blue or have difficulty catching breath. It is often worse at night. Left untreated, it can last three to four months.

Parents of infants and toddlers are likewise reminded to check their children’s vaccination records. The whooping cough immunization (DTaP) schedule, which also protects against tetanus and diphtheria, is administered at 2, 4, 6 and 12 to 15 months. A vaccination also is given after age 4, prior to the child starting school. Because the DTaP vaccine loses its ability to protect after five to 10 years, children are required to get a booster (Tdap) prior to 7th grade entry.

Thursday is Immunization Day at Carson City Health and Human Services, 900 East Long St. Hours are 8:30-11:30 a.m., and 1-4:30 p.m.

No appointment is necessary. For more information call (775) 887-2190.

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