CONTACT: Beth Kaplan, (608)
HEALTH OFFICIALS URGE RESIDENTS TO SEEK PERTUSSIS VACCINE
Immunization For Children Participating In Summer
Programs Is Required
MADISON—With summer camps and other programs for children starting in
the next few weeks, state health officials are urging Wisconsin residents
to seek pertussis vaccinations, especially in light of the state's current
"The best defense against pertussis continues to be
vaccination," said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. "We
recommend all Wisconsin residents check their vaccination status and
schedule a visit to their healthcare providers if they have not yet been
immunized against pertussis."
Wisconsin is currently experiencing a widespread outbreak of the
disease, with 1,514 confirmed and probable cases to date. Pertussis is a
contagious bacterial disease affecting the respiratory tract and is spread
by coughing, often through repeated face-to-face contact. Pertussis tends
to be a cyclical disease where case numbers may rise dramatically every
four to five years.
The pertussis vaccine is given in combination with Diphtheria and
Tetanus vaccines, called DTaP, and is recommended for children age two
months through six years old. A pertussis vaccine for adolescents and
adults, called Tdap, is recommended as a one-time booster. If someone does
experience pertussis after immunization, their case is usually milder.
Families with a newborn are encouraged to be immunized as part of a
process called "cocooning", where parents, siblings,
grandparents and others are vaccinated to provide additional protection to
the newborn, who cannot be vaccinated until they are two months old. Even
at that age infants still lack adequate protection. Newborns with
pertussis can experience severe complications, even death. More than half
of infected infants require hospitalization.
Pertussis can begin like a cold in infants and young children, with a
low grade fever and a mild, irritating cough that can appear within seven
to 20 days after exposure. The illness progresses to include explosive
coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating and sleeping, and may be
followed by vomiting and exhaustion.
Individuals with symptoms should contact their healthcare provider
about antibiotic treatment that can shorten the time when they are
contagious. Those with pertussis should be isolated from school, work or
other activities until completing at least the first five days of the
recommended antibiotic therapy.
For more information about pertussis and vaccination recommendations:
To check your children's immunization history: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/publicaccess.htm.
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June 12, 2012