Texas is a southern neighbor for us, Kansans. Whooping cough has reached epidemic proportions in Texas and is projected to hit a 50-year high! Nearly 2000 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Texas this year with two infant deaths due to the disease. Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a bacterial infection that may begin with cold-like symptoms and a mild cough. Severe coughing can start two weeks later. It is contagious when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes.
The Tdap vaccine has pertussis in it. We give this vaccine to pregnant women, children ages 2 and 4 and 6 months old. The first vaccine that a 2 month old gets does not fully shield them from the infection. Frequent boosters are needed help secure immunity. Infants are at most risk for the most severe respiratory complications and death.
Friendly advice: Get the Tdap vaccine if you are due. Stay home from work/school if you are ill. Cover your cough.