There's a significant increase in the number of cases of pertussis (Whooping Cough) in the Brooklyn haredi community, and most of the cases are children who have not been vaccinated or whose vaccines are not up-to-date.
Above: a child with Whooping Cough
Here's what the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says about Whooping Cough:
Whooping cough is a serious disease that can cause babies to stop breathing. You can help protect babies from whooping cough by getting your vaccine and making sure your baby gets his vaccines.
Whooping cough, which is also called pertussis, is very contagious and most serious for babies. People with whooping cough usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the bacteria that cause the disease. Many babies who get whooping cough are infected by parents, older siblings, or other caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.
When babies catch whooping cough, the symptoms can be very serious. Young babies could get pneumonia (lung infection), and many have trouble breathing. About half of babies younger than 1 year of age who get whooping cough end up in the hospital, and a few even die from the disease.
Understanding Whooping Cough Vaccines: DTaP and Tdap
There are two vaccines used in the United States to help prevent whooping cough: DTaP and Tdap. These vaccines also provide protection against tetanus and diphtheria. Children younger than 7 years old get DTaP, while older children and adults get Tdap.
If you are pregnant, you’ll need the whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester.
Because the disease can make babies so sick, and they can catch it from anyone around them, they need protection. These are the three important ways you can help protect them with vaccines:
• If you are pregnant, get vaccinated with the whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester.
• Surround your baby with family members and caregivers who are up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccine.
• Make sure your baby gets all his doses of the whooping cough vaccine according to CDC's recommended schedule.
Pregnant Women Need Whooping Cough Vaccine
If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor or midwife about getting the whooping cough shot called Tdap, to protect yourself and your baby. CDC recommends you get your Tdap vaccine between the 27th and 36th week of each pregnancy. After you get the shot, your body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them to your baby before birth. These antibodies provide your baby some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life when your baby is too young to get vaccinated. These antibodies can also protect your baby from some of the more serious complications that come along with whooping cough, such as pneumonia and encephalopathy (disease of the brain).
Everyone around Your Baby Needs to Be Up-to-Date with their Whooping Cough Vaccine
You can provide indirect protection to your baby by making sure everyone who comes in close contact with your baby, from older siblings and cousins to grandparents and caregivers, is up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccine. The table below shows the age that whooping cough vaccines are routinely recommended in the United States.…
Vaccine schedules and more information can be found here.
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