Whooping Cough Is In The Triad

5:51 PM, Feb 24, 2012   |    comments
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Triad, N.C. -- Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is infecting people in the Triad.

Thursday, the Alamance County Health Department said they now have 82 confirmed cases. The Health Department also said all of those cases had previously received the pertussis vaccine. If you'd like to learn more about pertusis, the CDC website has an extensive amount of information posted on its website

The vaccination for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has changed. Back in 1991, doctors reformulated the vaccine because some children were having severe reactions to the original vaccine.

Children were breaking out with fevers and even having seizures or convulsions. As a result, doctors cleaned up the vaccine to try to and get rid of those side effects.

"What we're finding is that this vaccine is safer. But, the downside is that it's not producing antibodies that are as protective as the old, cellular pertussis vaccine. The answer to everyone is...look, you still get the vaccine," Guilford County Health Department Medical Director Ward Robinson said.

Right now, medical experts are looking at ways to address this issue. One option could involve simply recommending people get a booster shot to make sure the vaccine keeps working. Plus, it's important to remember nearly all vaccines are always getting studied or tweaked to make sure they remain effective.

Ward added, "There's a constant, on-going, thought process and surveillance that goes into what's the safest vaccine, what's needed in a geographic area."

Bottom line -- local health departments stress vaccines are important. The Guilford County Health Department tells News 2 each person who gets vaccinated essentially helps build a wall around the community. The stronger the wall, the less likely infection will be able to break through.

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