Whooping Cough Detected In Communities With High Religious Exemption Rates

Research provided by New York State indicates there has been an increase in whooping cough diagnosis which correlates with the areas that have high rates of religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations.

Data from the New York State Department of Health suggests that in counties with more than 1 percent of children under religious exemption, whooping cough cases were higher.

 Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a harmful bacterial infection that affects the respiratory tract.  Pertussis is highly contagious and can spread when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms of pertussis can be confused with common cold symptoms like:

  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Mild coughing
  • Fever

Pertussis can take 7-20 days to surface after exposure.

Though it is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States according to the CDC, there could be side effects from receiving the pertussis vaccine.

Who is Affected by Whooping Cough?

Pertussis can affect infants, children and adults. This disease can be life threatening, especially to infants.

The most severe cases of pertussis are seen in infants. According to the CDC’s Pertussis: What You Need to know, about 1 in 4 hospitalized infants with pertussis is diagnosed with pneumonia, and about two thirds will have slowed or stopped breathing. Pertussis can be deadly for 1 to 2 infants per 100 who are hospitalized.

Recommendations for Pertussis Vaccine

The pertussis vaccine for infants and children in the United States is called DTaP.  

Health experts recommend for maximum protection against this disease children receive five DTaP shots, in which the first three shots are given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. The fourth shot should be given to the child at 15 through 18 months of age, and the last shot should be given when the child is of school age.

Adults 19 years of age and older who haven’t been vaccinated can receive one dose of Tdap.

For more information on pertussis vaccinations visit your local doctor, clinic, or visit cdc.gov.

 CLICK HERE to listen to what whooping cough sounds like.

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