ADPH sees increase in pertussis cases across AL - Montgomery Alabama news.

ADPH sees increase in pertussis cases across AL

(Source: Pixabay images) (Source: Pixabay images)

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Immunization Division is warning citizens about the increase in pertussis cases in Alabama.

According to ADPH, immunization data has revealed an increase from 113 cases reported in 2016 to 151 cases reported so far in 2017. Those reported cases include multiple outbreaks in Chambers and Calhoun counties.

“Alabama is not alone in the growth of pertussis cases. Nationwide, we have seen an increase in pertussis cases, and while there are several factors that could contribute to this, one generally accepted reason from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that although the pertussis vaccine is effective, it tends to decrease in immunity over time," said Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer. “That's why it’s so important that we educate Alabamians on this disease and let them know how they can prevent and treat it."
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory notifiable disease in Alabama. Pertussis begins with symptoms such as a runny nose, low-grade fever, and cough, according to ADPH. After a week or two, pertussis progresses to violent coughing which makes it difficult to breathe. After fits of many coughs, people with the illness often need to take a deep breath, which results in the whooping sound.

During an outbreak, the ADPH’s immunization division staff collect specimens for testing, assess vaccine status, contact persons via phone who have been in places where exposures have occurred. This information is then shared with those who have been exposed.

“Patients should be aware that this is a serious disease that can affect people of all ages. It can even be deadly for babies less than a year old. That’s why it’s especially important for parents and grandparents who are in close contact with infants to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations,” said Landers.

The Centers for Disease Control says the best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated. Pregnant women should also be vaccinated with Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) during each pregnancy to protect infants. 

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