Low cost vaccine available as whooping cough spreads across Northern Kentucky | Health
KY (FOX19) - Northern Kentucky’s outbreak of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, continues to spread this summer, with more than 61 cases reported. Vaccination is one way residents can protect themselves and infants they may come in contact with, and the Health Department has the vaccine available for $4 at its county health centers.
“Pertussis can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death — especially in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Because vaccine protection fades over time, anyone who plans to be around infants should be vaccinated with the Tdap booster shot, which will provide renewed protection against whooping cough. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to get their booster shot.”
The Tdap booster is available by appointment at all four of the Health Department’s county health centers, listed below.
· Boone County Health Center, 7505 Burlington Pike, Florence, Ky., 859.363.2060
· Campbell County Health Center, 1098 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859.431.1704
· Grant County Health Center, 234 Barnes Road, Williamstown, Ky., 859.824.5074
· Kenton County Health Center, 2002 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859.431.3345
Parents of young children should also make sure that their child has been vaccinated for whooping cough, typically given in a combination shot called DTaP, which includes vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria as well. The vaccine is usually given in five doses, with the doses at two months, four months, six months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years of age.
Most doctors’ offices and many pharmacies offer the vaccine as well. Families of infants born at St. Elizabeth can also get the vaccine after delivery through the hospital.
Since January, 61 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Northern Kentucky. In comparison, the region averaged 25 cases of whooping cough per year between 2003 and 2009. During an outbreak in 2010, 127 cases were reported. Of the cases reported thus far in 2012, eight were in children 1 year of age or under, who are at higher risk for serious complications from the disease.
The early symptoms of whooping cough include: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and a mild cough. After a week or two, a persistent cough develops which occurs in explosive bursts, sometimes ending with a high-pitched whoop and vomiting. Individuals who have a cough lasting more than two weeks and/or one that progressively gets worse are advised to contact their health care provider. Anyone with a cough should avoid contact with young children.
“Vaccination offers the best protection against whooping cough,” said Saddler. “But no vaccination is 100 percent effective and people who are fully vaccinated can still become infected with a mild case of the illness. In those instances, it is important for people who are ill to stay home and avoid contact with others, especially infants or those who may be at risk for serious complications from the disease.”
The Health Department is working with local doctors’ offices and child care centers to provide information about whooping cough transmission and prevention. Doctors have been reminded to consider whooping cough as a possible diagnosis. Child care centers have been asked to consider having all staff vaccinated and encourage their parents and students to seek vaccination as well.
For more information on whooping cough, please visit http://www.nkyhealth.org/pertussis.
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