Whooping Cough Cases on the Rise

By Grant Stinchfield
|  Saturday, Sep 25, 2010  |  Updated 11:27 AM CDT
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Texas Sees More Cases of Whooping Cough

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Health officials are urging people to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.

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Texas Sees More Cases of Whooping Cough

A resurgence in whooping cough cases has health officials urging people to get vaccinated.
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A resurgence in whooping cough cases has health officials urging people to get vaccinated.

Health department investigators across the state are closely monitoring every reported case.

"It tends to occur in waves of every three to five years we see an increase in the number of cases now; the last rise was in 2005," said Anita Kurian, of the Tarrant County Health Department.

The state health department said whooping cough can be seen in pockets across the state. The biggest increase is in Central Texas. In North Texas, Tarrant County has seen an increase, but Dallas County has not.

Kurian said parents should make sure their children's whooping cough, or pertussis, vaccinations are up-to-date.

Like most doctors, Kurian recommends that anyone caring for an infant also get vaccinated too.

"The older people get, their immunity decreases, so it's important to get revaccinated with (a) shot called Tdap," she said.

Doctors say infants can die from whooping cough.

State health department statistics show that whooping cough cases have risen nearly 60 percent in Texas since 2008.

Health officials say the disease has not reached epidemic or outbreak status.

The pertussis vaccination is usually given in a combination shot that also protects against tetanus and diphtheria.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends doses for children at ages 2 months, 4 months and six months, as well after their first birthday and again between the ages of 4 and 6. And Texas now requires a booster shot before students enter the seventh grade.

Adults, especially those who spend time around infants, might need a booster as well.

Vaccinations can be done at an immunization clinic in Dallas at 2445 West Northwest Highway. It's open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shots are $10 per child, and appointments are not necessary.

The clinic also offers physical exams, hearing and vision tests and tuberculosis testing by appointment.

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