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Video: 'Sounds of Pertussis' Campaign Urges Adults to Take Action During National Immunization Awareness Month
Date:8/20/2009

all-to-action for adults to get vaccinated. Fans can pledge to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and their loved ones.

Pertussis Makes a Comeback

Between 2000-2003 and 2004-2007, there was a 100 percent increase in reported cases of pertussis. Estimates indicate that there may be as many as 800,000 to 3.3 million total adult and adolescent cases of pertussis in any given year.

Pertussis is highly contagious and is caused by bacteria that are spread through airborne droplets from the nose and throat. So a cough, sneeze or even talking very close could lead to exposure. In adults, symptoms are usually milder than those seen in infants, and pertussis is often mistaken for the common cold or bronchitis. In infants and some adults, pertussis causes severe coughing characterized by the unforgettable "whoop" sound made when gasping for breath after a coughing fit. It creates a sticky, thick mucous that makes it difficult to eat, drink and breathe. The coughing fits can be so violent that infants cannot catch their breath and may turn blue. Pertussis can also lead to other serious complications such as pneumonia, which can require hospitalization. In recent years, 90 percent of pertussis deaths have occurred in infants younger than 4 months of age.

Because Hispanic babies may be at a higher risk for contracting pertussis, and the risk of dying from pertussis may be higher in Hispanic infants than in non-Hispanic infants, the program is being implemented as a bilingual educational initiative.

Protecting Against Pertussis

While most infants are given routine diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) immunizations, they do not begin the primary series until they are 2 months of age and may not be fully protected until they have completed their primary series of vaccinations. During this time, they are vulnerable to pertu
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SOURCE March of Dimes; Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
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