Earlier this year, a 3-month-old
suffering from a cough attack
was rushed to the hospital.
It turned out she was infected
with a severe respiratory disease
called pertussis, or whooping cough.
This child is not alone.
She is one of many children
in Contra Costa County
affected by a recent spike
in this potentially deadly disease.
Hello, I'm Dr. William Walker,
Director of Contra Costa Health Services
and County Health Officer.
I want to talk about whooping cough
and how you can help prevent its spread.
We're only halfway through 2010
and we've already seen more whooping cough
than we saw in all of 2009.
Across the Bay Area, cases of whooping cough
are up roughly 600 percent from last year.
These troubling numbers show
the importance of getting immunized.
And immunizations are not just for kids.
About half the time an infant gets whooping cough,
it is from an infected parent or relative.
We want everyone around infants to be vaccinated.
This means parents, grandparents, siblings
and anyone else who takes care of a child.
Adults should get immunized to protect
themselves, their children and the community.
Even adults who were immunized as children
should receive a booster shot, it's called Tdap.
Pertussis coughing fits can last several minutes and
symptoms could last for weeks or months.
The germ that causes whooping cough
is spread when someone coughs or sneezes.
In addition to coughing,
symptoms include a runny nose,
sneezing, watery eyes
and occasionally a low fever.
Sometimes coughing fits can be so severe
they cause broken ribs, vomiting
or shortness of breath.
There is a chance the number of cases could grow.
Whooping cough often peaks in August,
so I urge everyone to get immunized now.
Contact your health provider
to find out where you can get the vaccine
for yourself and your child.
Free Tdap vaccine is also available
from our Public Health Immunization clinics.
Find the nearest location
and more information about pertussis
on our website, www.cchealth.org