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Pennsylvania State Health Department Conducts Pertussis Immunization Clinic in Mercer County
Date:11/25/2008

Outbreak in WestMiddlesexAreaSchool District Sickens 32

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to a pertussis outbreak in the West Middlesex Area School District, the Pennsylvania Department of Health held vaccination clinics at Luther Low Elementary School and West Middlesex Junior/Senior High School on Nov. 19 and Nov. 24.

The tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccine was given to approximately 560 parents, students, and staff after an outbreak of pertussis sickened 32 people at the elementary school.

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It begins with cold symptoms and a cough that becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (coughing fits) followed by a whooping noise, vomiting, or breathing problems. The cough is usually worse at night.

"Pertussis is a very serious disease - particularly for young children - but it can be prevented," said Health Deputy Secretary Michael Huff. "It is important to immunize your children on schedule to protect them and curb the spread of the disease. Adults and older children can also receive a pertussis vaccination booster that could reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease."

The new combination vaccine, containing tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap), is available for adolescents and adults, ages 10-64 years. Tdap should be given as a one-time dose in place of a tetanus booster.

For more information on pertussis and all immunizations, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

    CONTACT:
    Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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