Health officials say adults need whooping cough vaccine - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Health officials say adults need whooping cough vaccine

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By Laura Wibbenmeyer - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Parts of the nation are experiencing the worst outbreak of whooping cough in 60 years.  There have been more than 6,000 cases and 10 infants have died. In Missouri, experts say people of all ages should be award of whooping cough and really consider getting vaccinated.  This bacterial upper respiratory infection, also known as pertussis used to mostly victimize infants.  it's making a big comeback and everyone is at risk.

"In the year 2009 in the state of Missouri they had over 900 actual confirmed cases of whooping cough," said director of Cape County Public Health Center Charlotte Craig.

Craig says since the number of cases statewide has increased dramatically, all adults need to be aware of the growing problem.

Infectious disease physician Matt Shoemaker says for the cases to decline a proper diagnosis must happen first, because this disease can mimic other infections.

"If you have somebody that has a severe cough that lasts fro more than two weeks then you need to do a text to confirm it's pertussis," said Shoemaker.

Dr. Shoemaker says this highly contagious disease is now affecting adults more than ever.

"Now we're having middle aged and older adults loose their immunity," said Shoemaker.

To regain their immunity a booster vaccine is a must for adolescents and adults.  This vaccine is called Tdap and protects from Tetanus and the whooping cough.

"This tetanus includes the pertussis vaccine made for adults and experts say you just need this one time as an adult for your booster," said Craig.

Craig encourages all adults to get the vaccine, but says families of newborn children really need to have the vaccine.  This vaccine is available at most family physician offices and local public health departments.

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