Whooping Cough Still On the Rise in Texas; Health Officials Recommend Vaccine

Cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Texas are on track to be the highest in 50 years. Local health officials say they are on high alert and want everyone to get vaccinated. KLBK's Michaela MacDonald has more.
"Its highly contagious, its spread through the air, through coughing, sneezing anything like that," said Shelley Larkins, owner and director at Shelby and Friends Childcare.

 She says they take the threat of pertussis seriously.

"They are required to have vaccinations at 2,4, and 6 months and again at 15 to 18 months and then again between 4 and 6 years of age. So if someone is not up to date they are not allowed to attend daycare," said Larkins.

There have been over 2,000 cases of pertussis across Texas so far this year. The respiratory disease, also known as "whooping cough," can affect people of all ages, but young children are the most vulnerable.

"Infants have a four shot cycle, so until they get to about 18 months and get the last of the cycle they are still at risk for getting pertussis," said Allen Cunningham, Clinical Pharmacy Manager at Covenant Health.

He says anyone who will be spending time around infants should get the TDAP vaccine.

"They make a recommendation for parents and grandparents if they are not up to date on their vaccines to get another booster during the time before the baby is born," said Cunningham. "The latest recommendation sent out by the CDC that pregnant women get that booster each time that they come in with a pregnancy."

Larkins says children usually get pertussis from an adult, so parents should be on the lookout for symptoms.

"If you are getting a cough as a parent, really check it and watch it because its really an upper respiratory infection for adults and all the kids are really catching from an adult or caregiver somewhere," she said.
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