Whooping Cough outbreak: Are you vaccinated?

ST. GEORGE – Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has infected hundreds of Utahns over the past few months, including residents in Iron and Washington counties. Case numbers this year have already surpassed 2011 totals and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department is encouraging everyone to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations.

“We are currently dealing with a pertussis outbreak in Washington County,” said Lisa Starr, RN, SWUPHD Surveillance Nurse. “There are twenty cases we know of district-wide. Most are children under age 12 and were not vaccinated or current on their vaccines. This is a disease that is highly contagious and especially hard on infants and small children.

Pertussis is also known as whooping cough due to the “whooping” sound made when gasping for air after the coughing spasms. It usually starts with common cold symptoms but soon progresses to violent coughing that can last for weeks. These coughing fits can interrupt sleep, cause vomiting, and fracture ribs. Infants are more vulnerable to severe illness, hospitalization, and, in rare cases, death.

Vaccination is the most effective prevention against pertussis. Although infants are usually started on a series of pertussis shots, it takes at least 15 months for them to build up full immunity. Often adults or older children in the home are the ones who infect infants, so everyone age 10 and over should get a Tdap vaccine, which protects against pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria.

“Less than half of all pre-kindergarten children in our area are caught up on their vaccinations,” Lisa Starr adds, “so we want to send out a plea to parents in our community to check their children’s records and make sure their kids are fully protected.”

Anyone with symptoms of pertussis should contact their doctor. An antibiotic is often prescribed which stops the illness from spreading and may lessen the symptoms.

For vaccination information, contact your healthcare provider or your local health department office. The SWUPHD currently has pertussis vaccines for all ages, including free Tdap vaccines for uninsured adults.

  • Washington County:      986-2540
  • Iron County:                  586-2437
  • Kane County:                644-2537
  • Beaver County:             438-2482
  • Garfield County:             676-8800

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  • Peg July 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    The question is why were these children not immunized?

    • lydia July 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      A lot of people are only a few dollars over the cutoff limit for medicaid and don’t have insurance at work.some can barely keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.A big chunk of the population around here lives completely beyond their means giving a false perception that this community is doing better than it is.

  • amber July 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    My 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with croup the other day. Is that almost the same? Doctors say that’s going around too

  • Olivia July 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    The health department has free pertussis vaccinations so income or lack thereof shouldnt be a reason for the children not getting their vaccinations. All the alternative health information is the real reason. St George is an area where people are turning to chiropractors and the like for medical advice. More people are getting exemptions because of publications that connect vaccinations and autism.

  • Kennetha Scott July 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    The CDC is supposed to be the leading authority in diseases, yet in their latest article, BARELY even mentions the main issue here.
    “Patti says in the email, “We also want to vaccinate everyone else who will be caring for the infant, creating a circle of protection. This includes dads, grandparents, older siblings, nannies, childcare workers, etc.”
    She speaks about how great the statistics are among children, with only a partial sentence dedicated to saying anything about the 92% of adults who are not vaccinated. The Whooping Cough reservoir.
    Again, DOH, CDC and any other “expert” on Pertussis: When the vaccine manufacturer made the vaccine safer in the 1990’s, it also reduced the effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as how long it lasted.
    This information was never shared with the public, so they went along thinking they were still protected if they had that vaccination. The truth is, that since around the year 2000, everyone who had received the vaccine was no longer protected and that is when this great Whooping Cough reservoir began. Add to that the unavailability of a booster shot until the year 2005, and again, not sharing it with the public, only healthcare providers.
    Then in 2010, California has the worst epidemic in recent history, killing 9 babies in the process. Still they say nothing to the rest of the nation about the Tdap, only stressing childhood vaccine and those around babies. That leaves out the population that need the vaccine- teens, adults without children, senior citizens, etc.. Most adults do not know they are not protected. This is the number one cause of these epidemics, yet they still do not say it.
    Kaliah died here in August of 2011, and still nothing. We went on the radio to tell people about the epidemic and the Department of Health came on after to tell everyone that they had expected it to be a bad year for Pertussis. If that was the case, why didn’t they warn us? Kaliah may still be alive if they had. They still were not going to warn us in April, until we forced their hand by threatening them with bad press.
    They would not call the CDC, the CDC would not come, they spent more money trying to keep us quiet than on actual education and outreach. There was a whole team devoted to making sure we didn’t make waves.
    Millions upon millions of dollars have been spent fighting this disease. If they spent the money to send out a Public Health warning to everyone, it could be over. I did the math and told the vaccine manufacturer that if they would send out a notice, they would stand to make billions in profit. Sounds of Pertussis, a branch of Sanofi Pasteur, has been spending a fortune on this for years now. They could recoup all of that if they sent out a notice that warned their vaccine was not the same as it used to be.

    Please be advised now, that the Tdap vaccine everyone is getting right now is not long lasting either. They say you can only have one dose per lifetime, but it actually only lasts around 5 years as well. So, in 5 years, we are all going to need another booster shot, but who is going to tell us, and when are they going to tell us?
    Find out more at:
    Whooping Cough Is On Pace To Break Yearly Record | wusa9.com
    WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) — Pertussis, better known as “whooping cough” is on pace to have a record setting year. According to statistics from the CDC, 16,181 cases have been reported as of June 30 of this year. Last year during the same period, 7,764 cases were reported.

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