Vermont Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic

Vermont health officials are declaring an epidemic for whooping cough and urging adults to get a new vaccine for the disease.

More than 500 people have come down with whooping cough, also called pertussis, so far this year — more than 10 times the amount reported by the end of last year, reports CBS News.

More than 20 babies less than one year old have also had the disease. Six infants have been hospitalized in relation to it. The Health Department continues to urge residents to get a Tdap vaccine, which protects them from tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis.

The recommendation is for adults to help prevent the spread of disease for those who are too young to get a vaccine. State health commissioner Dr. Henry Chen stated:

“Vermont has not had an infant death from whooping cough in more than 20 years and we all must do everything we can to keep it that way. We are urging everyone over the age of 11 to take advantage of our vaccine clinics.”

USA Today notes that about 90 percent of children in Vermont have been vaccinated against whooping cough, but only about 10 percent of adults were vaccinated.

Free clinics are available to administer the whooping cough vaccine to adults. The CDC’s website states, “Our current estimate is that Tdap vaccination protects 7 of 10 people who receive it.” Along with immunization, it is also recommended to wash hands regularly, cough or sneeze into sleeves, and keep children away from second-hand smoke, which can make it more difficult to eradicate the bacteria once it enters the respiratory passages.

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