Doctors recommend immunizations against whooping cough
Posted at: 09/12/2012 7:31 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, Eyewitness News 4
Whooping cough cases are spiking in New Mexico and across the nation - the worst outbreak in half a century.
'Doctors all it pertussis. Most of us call it whooping cough or "hoopin'" cough. Any way you say it, it's a pretty annoying long-term hack job of a cough for grownups and teenagers, but for babies it's much more serious - even fatal.
One New Mexico baby has died from whooping cough so far this year, in San Miguel County.
There have been 467 cases statewide in 2012, with four months left in the year. Last year, the state saw 277 cases. Nationwide, the caseload is about 25,000 right now.
Disease doctors said the answer is immunization.
"This is what we really want to drive home," said epidemiologist David Selvage of the New Mexico Department of Health. "Everyone needs to get vaccinated against pertussis, to protect themselves, sure, and to protect their families, - but more importantly to protect the infants in our communities."
"There is a vaccine called T-dap," said Dr. Paul Ettestad of the Department of Health. "It's the usual tetanus vaccine that you're supposed to get every ten years, but it also contains a part of it that helps protect you from pertussis also."
Whooping cough is highly contagious. It is bacterial, so antibiotics can be used to treat it. But it loves to linger. The Chinese call it the "hundred day cough."
Remember, this really is not so much about you. It is about the babies you may come into contact with. That is why doctors recommend immunization and boosters.