Whooping cough: outbreak in Montana

Add another state in the northwest US, Montana, that is experiencing an outbreak of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis). Washington and Idaho (where a child has already died), along with nearby British Columbia, have also experienced sizable outbreaks.  

Health officials in Flathead County, Montana, which borders British Columbia, have announced five additional cases of the disease. Some school events were cancelled or postponed since officials were concerned about large gatherings because of the contagiousness of the disease. County health officials are urging parents to make certain that their children have up-to-date vaccinations, and that adults have current vaccinations. The standard vaccine for pertussis is the DTaP, which provides immunity to diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

Vaccines save lives.

via Montana county experiences heightened number of whooping cough cases | Vaccine News Daily.

Whooping cough: Washington State lacks funds to fight epidemic

Whooping cough patients per county

The New York Times is reporting that the State of Washington has been hit by a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic that has hit 1,284 individuals in 2012, 10 times the 128 seen at this point in 2011. At this rate, there could be over 3000 cases by the end of 2012. Of those infected so far in 2012, 86 infants (under age of 1 year) required hospitalization, including 19 of whom were under 2 months. Pertussis immunization, with the DTaP vaccine, does not confer full immunity to the child until the third vaccination at 6 months of age, during which the infant is susceptible to catching the disease from adults with lapsed immunity or other children who are not vaccinated. However, even children with the first vaccination have some immunity, so the infection could be milder than in a child without any vaccination. Continue reading “Whooping cough: Washington State lacks funds to fight epidemic”

Whooping cough: new outbreak in Kansas

The Johnson County (Kansas) Department of Health and Environment has reported 70 confirmed or possible cases of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) in 2012. Johnson County, an affluent suburb of Kansas City, officials have warned parents to protect their children from the disease and are asking that all confirmed or suspected cases be reported immediately.  The health department is offering the DTaP vaccine, regardless of insurance, to pregnant women, women with infants under the age of one year and those over the age of 18 who care for or have close contact with children less than six years old.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes uncontrollable and often violent coughing spasms that can make it difficult for the infected to breathe. It can cause permanent disability in infants.  Because infants do not get their first vaccination until 2 months, and may not be completely immune until the third dose, usually given at around six months old.  Until that point, an adult with lapsed pertussis immunity or an nonimmunized individual may pass the disease to the infant.  Infants need to get the vaccine.  And adults too.

Remember, vaccines save lives.

via Pertussis outbreak reported in Kansas | Vaccine News Daily.

Whooping cough: New Mexico records first infant death since 2005

Sadly, whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) has killed an infant in San Miguel County, New Mexico.  According to the New Mexico Department of Public Health said that it was the first time that an infant in the state has died from pertussis since 2005. The infant was two months old, and had been given the first of three doses of the DTaP vaccine, which immunizes children against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.  The vaccine doesn’t induce a sufficient immune response until the third dose, which is given at around 6 months, so infants are at risk from being infected by the bacteria. The only way the infant could have contracted whooping cough was from another infected person, like an adult (whose immunity has lapsed) or an unvaccinated child.

In the same report, the state’s Department of Health say that New Mexico experienced more whooping cough cases in 2011 than any time since the 1980’s.  They also state that they have confirmed 110 cases of the disease s0 far in 2012, ahead of the rate in 2011.  Of those 110, 13 have been in infants, and of those eight required hospitalization.

This case is very sad, because the parents were responsible, and got their child vaccinated.  But someone else, who was not immune or a child whose parents refused to vaccinate them, passed this dangerous infection on to the dead child.  

Vaccines save lives.  Literally.

via New Mexico records first infant pertussis death since 2005 | Vaccine News Daily.

Whooping cough outbreak in South Florida

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting about a whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in South Florida area.  There have been other outbreaks reported in Wisconsin, Washington state, Illinois, British Columbia, England, and Australia.  This upsurge in whooping cough cases can mostly be blamed on falling vaccination rates and the lack of booster vaccinations in adults.  Importantly, whooping cough can be prevented, with almost no risk, with a DaTP vaccine. Continue reading “Whooping cough outbreak in South Florida”