LANSING (WWJ) - Physicians at the American Academy of Pediatrics Michigan Chapter (MIAAP) are urging parents throughout the state to have their children vaccinated against pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, and other infectious diseases with dangerous outbreaks on the rise in Michigan and across the nation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 18,000 children have been infected with whopping cough across the country this year alone, the largest outbreak in the last 50 years.
The CDC says 345 Michigan children have contracted whopping cough in 2012, but the infection rate has begun rising rapidly this summer, with two-dozen additional children diagnosed each week since mid-June.
“Whooping cough is spreading like wildfire this year, but the good news is that parents can protect their children with a simple immunization,” MIAAP President-elect Dr. Lia Gaggino said in a release.
“Vaccinations are a simple step that can keep Michigan kids healthy, even with outbreaks on the rise and children being hospitalized by the thousands across the country,” she said.
Immunizations help stop the spread of preventable infectious diseases like pertussis and have never been more important for Michigan kids, said Gaggino.
Even children and adults who have received inoculations against pertussis in the past are urged to receive a booster shot every ten years to ensure they are fully immunized against the disease.
Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Symptoms include uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After many coughing spells, those suffering from pertussis are forced to take deep breathes which result in a “whooping” sound.
The disease most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than one year of age. This year, at least one Michigan child has already lost her life to whooping cough.
MIAAP recommends Michigan parents observe the following vaccination tips to help keep their children healthy and prevent a serious measles outbreak in Michigan:
- Contact your pediatrician to make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date and if not, make an appointment
- If your family’s health insurance does not cover your child’s immunization, check with your local health department regarding free immunization clinics in your area
- The Federal “Vaccines for Children” program also offers free immunizations to qualified children through pediatricians and qualified health centers across Michigan
- If your child is getting a fall sports physical, schedule vaccinations at the same time for convenience
- Talk with your local school, as many now offer immunization recommendations and / or opportunities on-site during school registration.