Health officials to immunize child-care workers for whooping cough, which is making a comeback

Amid a rash of whooping-cough cases, Northern Kentucky health officials will immunize child-care workers against the disease. The effort is to help stop the infection, also known as pertussis, from spreading, Peggy O’Farrell of The Kentucky Enquirer reports.

Northern Kentucky had 127 recorded cases of pertussis in 2010, way up from 38 in 2009, said Joyce Rice, an epidemiologist with the Northern Kentucky Health Department. Statewide in 2007, there were 47 cases; last year, there were 250.
About three-fourths of children nationwide are immunized against the disease, which requires receiving four shots between the ages of 8 weeks and 15 to 18 months. Kentucky does not require a whooping cough booster, but it does require one against tetanus and diphtheria for 11- and 12-year-olds. Health-care providers often use a vaccine that includes whooping cough. Though pertussis is often associated with children, health officials say adults likely need a whooping-cough booster as well.
Pertussis is characterized by violent, distinctive coughing that can lead to vomiting or a short loss of consciousness. (Read more)
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