By WECT Staff | November 22, 2019 at 5:12 PM EST – Updated November 25 at 8:28 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County is encouraging people to get up to date on their vaccinations after identifying an increase in whooping cough in the area.
Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can cause violent coughing for up to ten weeks. In its early stages, symptoms appear to be cold like, but after a week or two escalate to include severe coughing fits, which can be followed by vomiting, exhaustion and apnea.
“We usually think of children developing whooping cough, but adults can develop it too and are often not diagnosed until later in the illness. That’s why it’s important for children to have their DTaP vaccine, and for adults to have their Tdap booster,” said New Hanover County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte.
County leaders ask that you contact your doctor if you show signs of whooping cough.
Children under 7 years of age should receive five doses of DTaP vaccine. DTaP is a vaccine series that helps children younger than age 7 develop immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. It is recommended that the DTaP series begin at 2 months of age, and continue at 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years of age.
The Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) vaccine is what is given to older children and adults. Children 7 through 10 years of age should receive one dose of Tdap if they were not fully vaccinated with DTaP. Adolescents through age 18 should receive one dose of Tdap, preferably at 11 through 12 years of age. Everyone 19 years of age or older should receive one dose of Tdap.
The vaccine is especially reccomended for pregnant women, anyone in close contact with infants and people with a chronic respiratory disease.
Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved.