A disease that had once been eliminated in the United States is now making a strong comeback.
This year alone there have been more than 18,000 whooping cough cases reported to the centers for disease control. According to the CDC this is the largest number of cases in the last fifty years.
Whooping cough-also known as pertussis-is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. It causes severe coughing which often makes it hard to eat, drink or breathe. Infants and young children who get it may also get pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
"The term whooping cough sounds so innocent because you think oh it’s a cold of some kind, it’s not it’s a horrible cough where you cough 35 times a day, you have a time when you’re coughing constantly for 5-7 minutes, some people cough until they pass out," said Joan Hazard R.N., Zanesville-Muskingum Health Department.
To prevent the spread to infants the health department advises all family members and visitors receive a one-time dose of TDaP vaccine.
The infants themselves will get their shots beginning at two months and continuing every two months until they are six months old. After their fifteen months shot they will not receive another one until they are in kindergarten.
"It’s a series for a reason, the first one isn’t going to do it, the second one isn’t going to do it. It just keeps building upon itself, and accumulating the protection so by the time they get the third shot they’re only eighty percent protected from the disease," said Hazard.
If they have some protection, they’re not going to get as sick as they would but they may still have a case of the disease.