MDH concerned about Pertussis: Are your immunizations up to date?
In August 2012, cases of Pertussis, or whooping cough, were reported to be at an all-time high in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) described it as an epidemic in the seven-county metro area.
Are you protected ? The MDH urges families to make sure their pertussis immunizations are up-to-date. Pertussis is especially serious in infants and young children so it is extra important for adults who care for them to have up-to-date immunizations. The pertussis outbreak is in the metro area is more prevalent in those over age ten, so it is important for older children, teens, and adults to get boosters.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends Pertussis Vaccination (Tdap) for school employees or childcare providers, residents living in areas of recent outbreaks of whooping cough, adults and adolescents who come in contact with infants or children, and individuals with a weakened immune system or prior respiratory illness.
Why is it important to get a Tdap vaccination? Whooping cough can occur in all age groups. More than half of infants younger than one year of age who get whooping cough are hospitalized. For adults, full recovery from whooping cough may take more than three months. On average, adults with whooping cough miss ten days of work. Adults and teens can spread pertussis to infants, for whom complications are often severe and can lead to hospitalization. Receiving the vaccination is the most effective way to avoid getting whooping cough.
Whooping cough is usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes while in close contact with others. The settings where whooping cough spreads quickly include schools, childcare centers, healthcare environments, and offices. Symptoms are similar to the common cold: runny nose, low-grade fever, mild cough. After a week or two, a persistent cough develops. The cough occurs in bursts and may end with a high-pitched whooping sound and sometimes vomiting. Between bursts of coughing, the person appears well. Coughing attacks may continue for four to six weeks and are more common at night. Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, particularly in infants.
The Spring Lake Park School District is making the following information available from the Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services Department's Disease Prevention and Control division. Anoka County recommends that:
- all children need to be vaccinated for whooping cough starting at two months of age,
- a whooping cough booster (Tdap vaccine) can be given to those ten years of age and older in epidemic areas,
- all adults need to have a current whooping cough booster (Tdap vaccine), especially those who work with children or who are infant and toddler caregivers (parents, grandparents, day care providers, teachers, kitchen staff, transportation providers, paraprofessionals, coaches, etc.), and that
- women who are greater than 20 weeks pregnant or who are receiving postpartum care need to have a current whooping cough booster (Tdap vaccine).
If you fit into any of these groups above, check with your medical provider to see that you are fully immunized. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider or Anoka County Community Health Department at 763-422-6965. Anyone in Anoka County who is uninsured or underinsured and needs a vaccination, can call the Anoka County Immunization Information Line at 763-323-6100.