Get your booster vaccine: Whooping cough spreads across Long Island

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Yesterday, we discussed the alarming trend of clinicians who will allow parents to deviate from recommended childhood vaccination schedules. The week before, we pointed out the importance of TDaP vaccination boosters (against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) for adults as well as children. This week, the Associated Press devoted a large amount of ink to the rising number of parents who are exempting their kids from vaccinations. And, unfortunately, today s breaking news is not good: An outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) that began in one Long Island town in June has spread to more than a dozen districts in Suffolk County. In 2006, state and county public health officials were alarmed by 110 cases of whooping cough reported for the year. This year so far, the number of cases is 216.

Immunity to the whooping cough bacillus conferred by the TDaP vaccine wanes over 10 years, ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross explains. This means that adolescents and adults who were vaccinated as infants will no longer be immune which makes it all the easier for them to transmit something like whooping cough to infants who haven t yet been immunized. Everyone should get a booster.