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Whooping Cough

Connie B

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Sorry kiddo that you couldn"t open it. I just opened it from this page and had no problem, but here it is for you. Rather interesting I think!


Booster shots advised for teens, adults

By Jeremy Olson


Article Last Updated: 11/14/2008 08:15:32 AM CST


In between West Nile and peak influenza seasons, the Minnesota Department of Health is notifying doctors about another emerging but expected threat: whooping cough.

So far this year, the state has reported 275 cases of the bacterial infection that doctors know as pertussis. Of particular concern is the number of infections involving high school students and adults, whose childhood immunizations may be wearing off.

"When you get to three to four years after your last dose, you start to see waning immunity," said Kris Ehresmann, who directs the vaccine programs for the Health Department.

A rise in cases was expected: Pertussis comes in a three- to five-year cycle, and the last major outbreak was in 2005. That year, 1,571 cases were reported in Minnesota.

The tally for 2008 is comparable to the totals for 2006 and 2007. But the number of outbreaks has jumped this fall, suggesting that pertussis, like clockwork, will become more common this year and in the next couple of years.

Outbreaks have been reported in Hastings and in an unnamed elementary school in Dakota County, officials said. An outbreak in central Minnesota's Douglas County involved 24 cases, mostly among high-schoolers, that took time to uncover.

"There were cases in adolescents that had been occurring, but it wasn't until a case occurred in a young child that it really came to detection," Ehresmann said.

Twenty years ago, most cases of whooping cough were diagnosed in infants, but that


has changed with time and better vaccine coverage in that population.

An adult booster shot became available in 2005 and is recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds during their pre-adolescent checkups. Many young teens missed this dose and should receive it, Ehresmann said, along with adults who have children or might be at risk for exposure.

Antibiotics can treat whooping cough, which gets its name from the classic symptom — a coughing fit followed by an attempt to breath in air that often evokes a whooping noise. Other typical cold symptoms also are common.

Jeremy Olson can be reached at 651-228-5583.


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My niece got whooping cough when we were in France in 04. We think she caught it on the plane. It caused much uproar with her Dr. when we got home, until the doc spoke to the CDC and the state health department. I thought she had asthma and realized then how amazingly similar my asthma cough sounds to whooping cough, something my work oc health doc had kept telling me. :)

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