Cases of pertussis – or whooping cough – are on the rise in the United States and have recently reached their highest level in 50 years. Pertussis can be serious – even fatal – to newborns who have not yet received vaccinations.
The disease can be prevented by a vaccine, but the vaccine protection wears off over time. A new poll by the University of Michigan shows that 61 percent of adults don’t know when they were last vaccinated against pertussis. Only 20 percent of adults reported that they received the pertussis vaccine less than 10 years ago (the recommended time frame), while 19 percent said they were vaccinated more than 10 years ago.
Adults are the carriers of pertussis in our society, so it’s extremely important for them to keep up with their vaccinations, especially those around newborns. Mount Nittany Medical Center offers vaccination to all moms and dads at the time of their baby’s birth, but all adults need to be immunized to prevent the spread to infants before they can be protected by immunization.
Check with your primary care physician to see if you are up to date on your pertussis vaccination. If not, schedule an appointment to get it as soon as possible.