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Whooping Cough Spikes In ’12, CDC Urges Vaccination

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Albany, NY (WIBX) – The number of whooping cough cases in New York is on the rise, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action against its spread.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial disease that affects everyone of all ages, but is most threatening to infants who do not yet have the vaccine.

Stacey Martin, an epidemiologist with the CDC, says although nearly 70 percent of teenagers have gotten the T-dap booster shot, adults have not been as vigilant.

“Adult coverage is still very low,” Martin said. “We’re less than ten percent. And it’s adults that will often transit the disease to infants. So, we really want adults to be aware and go get their booster, especially if they’re going to have any contact with a young infant.”

She says the best way to protect infants from contracting pertussis is to start by vaccinating the mother

“Pregnant women should receive the vaccine during their third trimester,” Martin said. “This is the best way to protect an infant, because the mom can actually share her antibodies with the young infant. It’s the best protection during those first few months of life, when the baby doesn’t receive any of their own vaccines.”

Martin also suggests teens and adults get a T-dap booster shot, shielding them and those around them from the disease.

So far, there have been about 1,200 cases of whooping cough in New York this year, compared to only 250 reported cases during the same time frame in 2011.

“Pertussis naturally cycles, so it’s not unusual for us to see spikes in disease every three to five years,” Martin said. “We’ve seen this for the last 50, 60 years. Every three to five years, we see a spike. It’s just that these peaks in disease are getting higher.”

Luckily, though the number of cases is higher, there have been no reported deaths from the disease this year.

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