Pertussis Outbreak, Washington State
An epidemic of pertussis infection (“whooping cough”) is occurring in Washington State. According to Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH),so far this year, there have been over 3000 cases (confirmed and probable) in Washington. The illness is caused by a bacteria, Bordetella pertussis, causes a prolonged cough and is most serious in young infants and the elderly. Of the cases reported so far, 25% are in adolescents aged 10-13 years. 185 cases are in infants under 1 year of age and have resulted in 39 hospitalizations, with 31 of those hospitalized being under 3 months. So far this year, no deaths from pertussis have been reported. There were two deaths each year in 2011 and 2010.
The Indian Health Service has posted two new videos to help explain the importance of vaccination to prevent pertussis and giver more information about this disease. Click here to watch “Ramona’s Story” and get more information.
What can you do?
These data highlight the need to target children for appropriate vaccination at every opportunity, whether they are seen in clinic for a well-child visit or a mild illness. In many cases, reminder letters or phone calls to parents can be helpful to encourage parents to bring their children in for immunization services.
- Make sure ALL children receive all four DTAP immunizations before the age of two, starting at six weeks.
- Make sure all adolescents receive their Tdap booster starting at age 11
- Make sure that women of childbearing age receive Tdap before they become pregnant
- Make sure that women who are pregnant receive Tdap after they reach 20 weeks gestation
- Make sure all adults, especially care-givers to small children have a Tdap booster at least once
Questions? Contact the Portland Area IHS Immunizations program for more information at:
Resources for Community Members
- IHS Health Topic- Whooping Cough (Pertussis) NEW!
- Information for Families and Patients about Pertussis
- Immunization Action Coalition
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Academy of Pediatrics
Resources for Clinicians
From State Public Health Departments
2012 Immunization Schedules
- Infant/Child/ Adolescent Schedules (0-18 years)
- Adult Schedule
- ACIP Updated recommendations for pregnant women
- ACIP Updated recommendations for adults over 64
- How to Manage a Pertussis Outbreak in Your Practice
- Pertussis: A Disease Affecting All Ages
- Patient handout about “Whooping Cough”
State Specific Disease Reporting and Data
Information from IHS