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Immunizations for pertussis encouraged after area outbreaks

Posted: Monday, Oct 8th, 2012

HURON — Horizon Health Care is reminding residents about the importance of immunization after recent South Dakota pertussis outbreaks in Bryant, Lake Preston and Mission.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies.

“Pertussis can occur at any age, but is most severe in babies less than one year of age,” said Dr. Lance Lim, chief medical officer at Horizon. “The best prevention is immunization.”

Babies are vaccinated with DtaP vaccines as infants, protecting them from diptheria, tetanus and pertussis. Lim said middle-school-age students should get a booster shot to extend their pertussis protection. Adults can also be immunized against pertussis, combining the immunization with a tetanus shot.

Transmission is by close contact with an infected person’s coughing or sneezing. Older siblings and adults who may be harboring the bacteria in their nose and throat can infect an infant in the household. Adults and children can get a booster shot at any Horizon Health Care location, including James Valley Community Health Center in Huron.

For the complete article see the 10-07-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-07-2012 paper.

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