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Pertussis still a concern in Utah County



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UTAH COUNTY — Health officials say they're continuing to see a comeback of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Utah County.

The Utah County Health Department says it has reports of 96 cases of pertussis so far this year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Utah has seen about 207 cases of pertussis from January through April.

There is a vaccination against the disease, but its efficiency decreases over time. Part of a safety campaign is to urge teens and adults to get another immunization.

Information about vaccines in Utah County can be found at www.utahcountyhealth.org/immunizations or by calling 801-851-7025.

About Pertussis
  • Affects any age; most serious in infants
  • Cause: Bacterium Bordetella Pertussis
  • Treatment: Generally consists of a course of antibiotics and supportive care
  • Recommended Vaccination: 2 months old, 3 more before age 2, one when entering school, booster in 7th grade

In December 2011, Utah County officials reported that they had the highest rate of whooping cough in the county in five years, and the rate was well over the national average.

Officials blamed a combination of complacency on the part of those who needed immunizations and health care providers who give te4sts for the disease, though they did cite a cycle in the disease that lasts from five to seven years.

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 breathes which result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis affects people of all ages who are not current on their immunizations, but the most serious complications are seen commonly in infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than one year of age.

So far in 2012, outbreaks have been reported in Salt Lake and Cache Counties.

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