Whooping Cough Making a Comeback in Nebraska

Article Date: Aug 10, 2010

Omaha, NE- Nebraska is one of several states seeing an increase in cases of pertussis, or whooping cough.

Alegent Health Infectious Disease Specialist Rick Starlin, M.D., says it's the start of what could be the upswing in a highly contagious, highly dangerous outbreak: "Pertussis outbreaks come in cycles of three to five years and the last year we saw a large number of cases in the United States was 2005, so our area could be at risk," Dr. Starlin explained. "We recommend that any adult that may have young children or contact with young children make sure that they get immunized. Whooping cough is easily transmitted and can severely affect infants who are premature or those who are not fully immunized yet."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, peak season for whooping cough is late summer and early fall. Lancaster County is reporting 18 cases of whooping cough in the last two months.

"Most of us have had the initial series of vaccinations, unless there was a health reason to not get it done or parental choice," Dr. Starlin said. "The majority of Americans have had the vaccination, but the immunity wanes, so there is need for at least a one-time booster shot from adolescents to adulthood."

"It's called whooping cough because it's a coughing spell that won't go away, but you can limit the spread by getting vaccinated," Alegent Health Clinic Pediatrician Kirti Gupta, M.D., explained. "The vaccination is twofold, it protects the individual getting the shot and then they protect others by not getting whooping cough."

Reported by Robert Maday, rmaday@journalbroadcastgroup.com

Republished with permission from Action 3 News

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