The United States is expected to see its worst outbreak of whooping cough in decades this year, and Minnesota is no exception.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the 1,881 reports of whooping cough in the state are more than any year since 1947, bringing the state to almost an epidemic level.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is an extremely contagious disease caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. The upper respiratory infection is serious and can affect people of any age.
The best way to protect the infant and pediatric populations who are most at risk is via vaccination. Though most infants in Minnesota are vaccinated early in life, it might surprise parents to know that children aren’t considered “fully vaccinated” against whooping cough until a fifth vaccination is administered in preschool.
“There’s been a lot of a change over the last five, six, seven years in terms of what the recommendations around whooping cough actually are,” said Jon Hallberg, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota Medical School and medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic. “At this point we’re even telling adults to come in and get vaccinated.”
Health officials are calling for adults – especially pregnant women and those who spend time around children – to get booster shots of the vaccination to help reduce the occurrence of the infection and prevent spreading whooping cough to young children who are often hit hardest by the disease.
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