Texas whooping cases up in week since health alert

Texas whooping cases up in week since health alert

The Department of State Health Services describes Pertussis or "Whooping Cough" as a very contagious bacterial illness. It has the biggest impact on small children. And the numbers this year in Texas are on the rise...killing two infants.

Three-month-old Bailey from the Dallas area recently started coughing so her mother took her to the doctor but they didn't immediately diagnose it as Whooping Cough. And it just kept getting worse.

"She would get to the point that her skin would turn really gray and her lips would turn blue and she would not be breathing and I would have to like hit her on the back, like tap her on the back and she would finally start gasping and making that whooping sound," said Bailey's mother Michelle Fredrickson.

Fredrickson says it got so bad, she stopped moving and had to do CPR on her.

And it's not just Bailey. Back here in Austin at the Department of State Health Services, spokesman Chris Van Deusen says the problem is statewide and the number of cases are in the thousands.

"More than 2,100 at this point. And if we continue to get reports of cases at this rate, it's likely we're going to pass our recent peak which was in 2009 and we may end up having the most cases since the late 1950s," Van Deusen said.

Van Deusen says Whooping Cough has already killed two Texas children this year.

"It's important for people who are going to be around newborns to themselves get vaccinated. So whether that's mothers, we recommend pregnant women get a dose of Pertussis vaccine every pregnancy. That helps protect the baby. Obviously that helps keep the mother from getting the illness and passing it on potentially. But also fathers, older siblings, extended family, doctors and nurses too," he said.

Van Deusen calls that "Cocooning" and it's very important because he says the two Texas infants that died from Whooping Cough this year were too young for the vaccine.

In Travis County, there are 72 possible cases of Whooping Cough this year...and that was just as of July.

LINK:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/

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