The number of reported cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough)continues to rise in the US. This is an illness that often goes without specific diagnosis in adults in teens who present to their doctors with persistent cough. They are treated effectively with antibiotics, but the pertussis is never identified as the actual cause. Statistica being tracked of lab verified cases still support the elevated concern.
There have been verified cases in Georgia this year. The state of California has about 10 times the number of cases they had last year. Imagine the number of people from all over the US who travel through airports in Los Angeles and San Franciso every day, and it's easy to see how this illness can be spread through indirect contact.
The risk of hospitalization and even death is highest is our most fragile population, our infants. Because infants have not received or completed their immunization schedule of Dtap vaccine, they are unprotected or underprotected from pertussis. There is a national campaign, including television advertising, to encourage immunization of adults and teens who are or who will be in contact with newborns and young infants. The goal is to create a "cocoon of immunity" around our new babies by protecting the people around them.
The state of Georgia is offering free Tdap immunization to ADULTS (Tdap is the "adult" vaccine for tetanus and includes booster pertussis protection. Vaccine eligible adults, whether or not they have insurance may receive the vaccination without charge. Other vaccines to protect against certain types of Hepatitis, Measles, Mumps and Rubella ,(German Measles) and certain strains of pneumonia are included in this initiative to protect our communities. If you have not been immunized against these illnesses, please contact your local health department about this program.