Florida Department of Health Urges Residents to Seek Pertussis Vaccine

By  | 

WALTON COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH - Walton) has confirmed a case of pertussis, or whopping cough.

The person’s family and immediate friends have been contacted and are being treated. DOH - Walton advises parents, childcare workers and healthcare providers to verify that the children they care for are properly immunized against whooping cough. It is advisable for new parents, grandparents and relatives to be fully immunized before being around a baby.

Whooping cough—known medically as pertussis—is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that can be a serious health threat, especially for infants. Family members are most often the transmission source of pertussis to infants. A typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose that can last for one to two weeks, followed by weeks-to-months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Pertussis is contagious before severe coughing starts.

“The best defense against pertussis continues to be vaccination,” said Dr. Diane Hudson, DOH - Walton Medical Director. “We recommend all Walton residents check their vaccination status and schedule a visit to their healthcare providers if they have not yet been immunized against pertussis. Immunizations not only help prevent the disease in the immunized individual, but help protect those who cannot receive vaccine or may be too young to be fully immunized.”

To schedule an immunization appointment at the Walton County Health Department, call the DeFuniak Springs office (850-892-8015) for same-day appointments or the Coastal Branch office in Santa Rosa Beach (850-892-8031) for a scheduled appointment. Some fees may apply.

The best way to prevent whooping cough is through immunizations. Infants and children receive a series of 4 to 5 doses of DTaP, a diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus containing vaccine, with a booster at 10 to 11 years of age. However, protection provided by the childhood series fades over time. All persons age 11 to 64 can get a booster called Tdap, which protects against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.

Additional information about immunizations and whooping cough (pertussis) can be found at:
http://www.immunizeFlorida.com/ or http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis/