Health Department concerned about Whooping Cough - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Health Department concerned about Whooping Cough

Doctors are seeing a spike in cases of Whooping Cough here in the Mid-South. The disease is most dangerous for infants and can cause severe respiratory problems--even death. Now, there are two new vaccines that could help prevent the spread to your children. Lisa Moore knows first hand just how severe pertussis, or whooping cough, can be.

"I thought she was literally dying on me," said Moore.

Her daughter, Trinity, was only 6-weeks-old when she had a cough that wouldn't go away. Things got progressively worse.  Until little Trinity stopped breathing.

"I've never seen anything like it, never heard about it until the night it happened," Moore said.

But doctors are seeing more and more cases among infants, adolescents and adults. There were about 200 cases in Tennessee in 2005 many reported in Shelby County over the past few months.

"Some studies have show a third of people coughing for more than ten days have whooping cough and don't even know it," said a health official.

The problem is the vaccine looses its effect after 6 to 10 years. Then, people who get Whooping Cough may see it as nothing more than a bad cold. But it could be fatal if the air-borne disease is passed on to babies who haven't been protected by vaccine. For teens and adults there are two new vaccines.

"And that's one way of helping prevent the spread of the disease to kids too young to get immunization who actually have severe disease," a specialist said.

Trinity is in good health now, but to parents of infants two months or older Lisa moore says get those booster shots.

To learn more about Whooping Cough, click here.

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