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.