Whooping cough cases rise; parents urged to immunize kids
State health officials are seeing an increase in the number of whooping cough cases and urging people to make sure children are immunized.
Nationally, 48 states and Washington, D.C., have reported increases in whooping cough, also known as pertussis, through September. In South Dakota, cases are up 87 percent over the five-year median, with 56 cases reported as of Oct. 3. Most of those cases are in school-age children and result from an outbreak in a school setting. Neighboring Minnesota has reported nearly 4,000 pertussis cases, the most since 1943, while Iowa has reported more than 1,100 cases so far this year.
The state Department of Health provides free vaccine to protect children against pertussis. The vaccine the state provides is T-dap, which also includes tetanus and diphtheria, with doses recommended at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years. Children need the complete series to be fully protected. A booster dose is also recommended at 11-12 years as immunity begins to wane. The department provides that booster dose free as well, although some providers may charge an administration fee.
The booster dose protects middle school students from the disease and increases the ring of protection around vulnerable infants. Because whooping cough is highly contagious and spreads easily in school settings, immunizing the older age group also helps decrease the likelihood of outbreaks. Schools can schedule clinics to offer the whooping cough vaccine along with the seasonal flu vaccine.
Find more information on the Department of Health’s website.