Pertussis has certainly been getting a lot of press lately, but what exactly is it? Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, and young infants are particularly vulnerable. It’s transmitted through close respiratory contact with someone who is infected.
Some of the first symptoms in adults and children include, a runny nose, sneezing, a mild, dry cough, and slight fever.
As of June 30th, in California there have been 1,337 cases of pertussis reported in 2010, including five infant deaths – in what seems to be the worst year of pertussis that our state has seen in more than 50 years.
To protect our community against the current epidemic levels of whooping cough, experts at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated.
In addition to the typical series of childhood pertussis immunizations, CDPH now recommends an adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccine (T-dap). Adults who have contact with children under the age of 12 months, particularly new moms, are among those recommended to get the T-dap.
Please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency website http://ochealthinfo.com/pertussis for the most up-to-date recommendations and vaccine availability for you and your family.