Pertussis – What’s the Fuss?

Pertussis is more commonly known as the whooping cough. It is a highly contagious respiratory illness that effects all ages, but can be potentially very serious in infants. Pertussis usually begins with cold type symptoms and a mild cough lasting two weeks. Fever is rare. These symptoms are then followed by weeks to months of severe coughing spells which can be life threatening in infants. There continues to be increases in pertussis infections both in our state and nationwide.

Infants are most likely infected from an older sibling, caregiver, or adult. Protection from pertussis vaccination tends to wear off after 5-10 years, therefore, all persons aged 10-64 should be vaccinated with Tdap (pertussis vaccine).  Parents of young children, pregnant women, childcare workers, and healthcare workers are top priority for vaccination.

If you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or have an infant at home, please contact your health care provider regarding a Tdap (pertussis) booster.  Tdap vaccine can be given regardless of when you last received a tetanus shot; there is no waiting period needed. Here at Piedmont OB/GYN we offer Tdap vaccination. New CDC guidelines recommend vaccination with Tdap for all unvaccinated patients during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. It is also offered to all mothers after delivery at the Greenville Health System. For more information, visitwww.scdhec.gov/pertussis or www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/default.htm