Whooping cough cases are on the rise in some areas of the United States including the York County and San Diego County. Vaccination is the key to prevent pertussis.
Whooping cough disease, also called pertussis, brings on fits of coughing in the sufferer. This disease can last for weeks in both kids and adults. But it is a life-threatening disease for babies.
"It's pretty contagious, and it's spread through droplets from your mouth when you cough," said Dr. Timothy Hawkins with Maine Medical Partners Pediatrics.
According to CDC stats, almost 40 percent of babies sick with whooping cough catch it from their mothers. It is a contagious disease that gets transferred from one person to another. And the only key to preventing the disease is vaccination. Hence, Whooping cough vaccination is a must for all.
And some recent reports indicate that whooping cough is currently one the rise in some areas of the US, especially in York County and San Diego County. Six times more whooping cough cases have been reported in San Diego County this year. Last year, only 53 cases of whooping cough were reported in the county while this year the number soared to 298.
"Pertussis has shown no signs of slowing down and this high level of activity should be a concern for parents and caregivers,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the San Diego county public health officer.
18 cases of whooping cough were reported just in the previous week in San Diego County. On the other hand, six new cases have been reported this week in Kennebunk Town, Maine in York County. And parents have been requested to be alert regarding this situation since prevention begins at home.
Superintendent Andrew Dolloff sent an email to parents. He stated, "We just always take it upon ourselves to notify parents that this is out there, and here are some symptoms to look for, and here are some steps to take and make sure your child is protected."
School officials have asked all parents to vaccinate their children and themselves against whooping cough. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that each child should get five doses of the whooping cough vaccine. Children should get doses of the vaccine at the ages of two months, four months, six months, 15 to 18 months and four to six years.
However, CDC recommends a booster shot for those students (between the ages of 11 and 18) who have reached middle school. "The vaccine's effectiveness lessens over time so it's very important that adults get their booster shots and that they make sure their children have the necessary doses of the vaccine at the recommended ages,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten.
Dr. Timothy Hawkins also said that whooping cough sufferers can prevent the disease from spreading to other people by washing hands, using hand sanitizer and coughing into their arms.
"It starts like a cold. It's a bacterial infection, and we can kill it with antibiotics if we start them soon enough," said Hawkins. And this disease can prove fatal if it isn't caught. It can lead its sufferer to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and even death. In short, vaccination is the only key to prevent whooping cough.