Cases of whooping cough have risen dramatically across the nation this year compared to last year and in Chautauqua County the numbers are also climbing. YNN's Mark Goshgarian tells us how the health department is urging parents to help prevent the potentially deadly disease from spreading.
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — He starts middle school in Jamestown on Tuesday.
"There's just so many people together in such a closed proximity, that you want to make sure that major outbreaks aren't happening," said Holly Dickerson.
Holly Dickerson just moved to Jamestown, and took her son David to get vaccinated Monday against whooping cough.
"It's important to make sure that he's not going to contract the disease even though he's been previously vaccinated for it, or transfer it to other kids," said Dickerson.
Chautauqua County health officials reported a hundred cases of whooping cough this year, with more than 30 in just the last week.
"So yes this is cause for concern, but I don't think it's cause for undue alarm," said Christine Schuyler, Public Health Commissioner.
Schuyler says the county sees a spike in the number of cases about every three years.
"And as you age, the immunity that's been built up, tends to wane, it tends to lessen, so that's why you need a booster shot, truly we are seeing a decrease some in children being vaccinated," said Schuyler.
Because it's highly contagious, Schuyler recommends people cover their nose and mouth when they cough, and wash their hands thoroughly.
Health officials say infants are at greatest risk.
"Pertussis in infants can lead to serious complications and mortality, so by vaccinating as much of the population as we can, we're in fact cocooning, or protecting our infants," said Julie Apperson, Public Health Nurse.
Apperson says infants should be vaccinated at two-, four-, and six-months old, fifteen to eighteen-months and four- to six-years-old.
"So if they complete that initial five series of shots, then they're considered vaccinated until they're anywhere from ten to twelve years of age," said Apperson.
David turns 13 in two weeks, and Dickerson encourages parents to get their children vaccinated.
"You can't worry about everyone else's child, you have your child and you need to protect them," said Dickerson.
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