ABILENE, Texas - Whooping cough—or Pertussis--has already claimed the lives of two Texas infants this year.
A health alert has been issued for the state and more than 2,000 cases have been reported so far. According to lab results from Hendrick Medical Center for the Big Country, 19 cases have been confirmed this year and seven of those cases were confirmed since July.
State health officials predict the state is on track for more cases of the cough than any year since the 1950s. The bacteria can spread from person-to-person and can affect people of any age.
Health officials say vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from the bacteria. People who spend time around infants especially need to get vaccinated—as early as two weeks before welcoming an infant into their home.
"A young infant is at more risk of contracting the disease from mom, dad, other siblings, aunts, or uncles, that come in contact with them," BJ Stanke, a registered nurse at HMC, said.
According to the CDC, the vaccine makes a big difference. It became widely available in the 1940s and, during that time, about 200,000 children became infected with the cough each year and about 9,000 died as a result. As of now, about 10-25,000 children become infected each year and 10 to 20 die annually.
For children, the CDC recommends vaccinations should be given at two, four and six months of age; again from 15 to 18 months of age; again from four to six years of age with a booster in the pre-teen years.
For adults, "they recommend that instead of getting the tetanus shot, you get the T-dap which has the Pertussis," Stanke said.
She said that shot should hold an adult over for about 10 years.
For additional protection, make sure to wash your hands regularly and keep your workspace clean.
Warning signs of the cough typically begin with cold-like symptoms and a mild cough or fever. Within one to two weeks, severe coughing could begin and continue for several weeks. Infants can suffer from apnea (i.e. a pause in their breathing pattern). The cough is treated with antibiotics and must be treated as soon as it is noticed and diagnosed.
- Updated Victims ID'd: San Angelo man & boy, 4, apparently drowned while fishing
- Updated Recent thefts raise eyebrows at Abilene hardware store
- Texan on 10 Most Wanted sex offender list caught in Mexico
- KTXS Forecast: Tracking scattered cloud cover with low to mid-80s for the work week
- Abilene locations to offer early voting Monday
- Candlelight vigil held in Brownwood for domestic violence victims
- Brownwood domestic violence shelter holding candlelight vigil Thursday
- Brownwood breaks four month slide in sales tax collections
- Brownwood man faces backlash for controversial Halloween display
- Brownwood traffic stop leads to arrest of Abilene man, 21, with 42 grams of meth
Copyright 2016 by KTXS All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Football Friday Night: Latest scores from Abilene, the Big Country
- Brookesmith ISD board appoints acting principal in wake of superintendent stepping down
- Brookesmith ISD superintendent steps down amid talk of consolidation with another district
- Judge tweaks sentences for couple convicted of murdering Abilene police officer
- Brookesmith ISD meeting on possible consolidation gets heated