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Whooping Cough Continues

July 20, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) weekly publication (MMWR) featured an article on the pertussis epidemic in Washington State.

Here at the Health Department, we are monitoring and responding to this epidemic very carefully. We are still seeing high rates of pertussis in Pierce County at levels we have not seen for decades. So far in 2012, 446 cases have been reported in Pierce County as of July 14, 2012.

Thankfully we have not seen any deaths, but the risk to infants remains very real.

Consistent with the MMWR article, we have seen a larger proportion of our cases in older school ages children and we appreciate the CDC's work to help understand this better.

It is also clear that vaccination remains our most effective weapon to control this disease. Vaccination reduces one's chances of developing pertussis as well as reducing the duration and severity of symptoms. In adition, it helps reduce transmission in our community, which is important to ensuring our youngest and most vulnerable community members are protected.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has partnered with our community healthcare providers and pharmacies to make sure low or no cost adult and childhood pertussis vaccines are available throughout the county.

Please visit our pertussis webpage for more information and resources.

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