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Kristin Hayes, R.N.

Update on Whooping Cough Outbreak

By November 19, 2012

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You've probably heard a lot on the news about the 2012 whooping cough outbreak, here is an update. The five states that have been hit the hardest, or have the highest incidence this year are: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington State, Vermont and Montana, although other states are experiencing significantly higher numbers of whooping cough cases than the rest of the nation including Utah, N. Dakota and Oregon. News reports claim that the epidemic in Washington (State) is slowing down.

Officials have announced that research has shown that our current vaccine, DtaP, which is widely used among children does not last as long as they had thought, with immune benefits wearing off after about 5 years. This makes a second vaccine necessary for teenagers (or adults). This vaccine is called Tdap and is different than the shot given to young children. Very few adults nationwide have received this vaccine and many are currently capable of contracting and spreading whooping cough to others.

Sudden coughing attacks are characteristic of the illness which is highly contagious. Anyone with symptoms should see a physician as soon as possible, especially if more than one family member has symptoms. As usual covering your mouth, practicing good hand hygiene and staying at home when you are ill can help to prevent the spread of this illness which can be deadly to children. The Tdap vaccine is recommended for most people ages 10-adulthood.

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