Cases of whooping cough in Texas reached the highest level the state has seen in 50 years. The state has also seen two deaths from infants who were too young to be vaccinated.
The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a warning in light of the outbreak, urging people to get vaccinated against the bacterial infection.
Whooping Cough, also caller pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that comes with a severe cough, reports The Kansas City Star.
So far, there have been almost 2,000 pertussis cases reported in the state. The annual total will likely be higher than the 3,358 seen in 2009. Chris Ven Deusen, a spokesman for the department, stated, “It’s a big concern, particularly because of the impact it can have on young children.
The infection can be treated with antibiotics and a vaccine for it has been widely available since the 1940s. Because of the high number of whooping cough cases, the DSHS also issued the health alert to advise doctors on how to diagnose and treat whooping cough, notes KETK-NBC.
Dr. Lisa Cornelius, the group’s infectious diseases medical officer, stated, “Pertussis is highly infectious and can cause serious complications, especially in babies, so people should take it seriously.”
In order to protect babies against whooping cough, DSHS recommended that pregnant women get a dose of the vaccine during every pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. The vaccination will help protect the baby before it can get its own vaccination series at two months old.
The vaccination also helps the mother stay healthy so she doesn’t pass the disease to her baby. Fathers, siblings, extended family, and care providers are also encouraged to get vaccinated. Many babies who get whooping cough contract it from adults around them or older brothers or sisters. Many times the person who gives it to them doesn’t even know they have it.
Symptoms of whooping cough infection include cold-like symptoms and a mild cough. After about a week, the cough turns severe and can last for weeks.
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