EDGEWOOD, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky Health Department released information Wednesday about an increase in the number of whooping cough cases in the area.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can be severe for infants under age one.
The health department found that since January, 39 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Northern Kentucky. In comparison, the region averaged 25 cases of whooping cough per year between 2003 and 2009.
During an outbreak in 2010, 127 cases were reported. Of the cases reported thus far in 2012, seven were in children one year of age or under.
"Pertussis can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death - especially in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated," said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health in the news release. "Because vaccine protection fades over time, anyone who plans to be around infants should be vaccinated with the Tdap booster shot, which will provide renewed protection against whooping cough. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to get their booster shot."
Health officials advise parents of young children to make sure their child has been vaccinated for whooping cough, typically given in a combination shot called DTaP, which includes vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria as well. The vaccine is usually given in five doses, with the doses at two months, four months, six months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years of age.
"We are also seeing a significant number of cases in children age 9 to 11," said Saddler in the release. "If you have a child in this age group, make sure that he/she is up-to-date on vaccinations, particularly if your pre-teen spends time around infants. In fact, vaccination may be required for school entry, and can be given during back-to-school medical appointments."
The early symptoms of whooping cough include:
The Tdap vaccine is available for $4 by appointment at the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s four county health centers. For locations and phone numbers, visit http://www.nkyhealth.org /locations .
For more information on whooping cough, visit http://www.nkyhealth.org / pertussis .
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