Early this year, 13 diagnosed cases of whooping cough were in Smithtown, New York. As the year progressed, that number would increase drastically to 216 cases throughout the entire Suffolk County.
This is the highest number of whooping cough cases reported in the area since 1999. Also called pertussis, whooping cough is highly contagious and can cause serious illness in infants who are too young to be vaccinated with the five required shots. Families with newborns should have teenagers and adults vaccinated also.
For Infants and Children: In the US, the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. This is a safe and effective combination vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. For maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots. The first three shots are given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given when a child enters school, at 4–6 years of age. If a 7-10 year old is not up-to-date with DTaP vaccines, a dose of Tdap should be given before the 11-12 year old check up.(CDC)
Whooping cough is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, and is one of the most common of all vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. If not properly vaccinated with the DTaP vaccinations, over half of infants under one year of age will end up in the hospital with lung infection; one out of 100 will develop convulsions from the disease; and another one out of 100 will die.