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Wisconsin Pediatricians Urge Vaccination Against Pertussis (“Whooping Cough”). Preventable Disease on the Rise and Potentially Deadly to Newborns and Infants.

The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) is expressing concern over the growing number of the vaccine-preventable pertussis ("whooping cough") outbreaks nationwide. Newborns and infants are especially vulnerable to serious disease and death, and vaccination of all family members and caregivers provides protection against the disease.

Kimberly, WI, April 05, 2011 --( The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) urges vaccination against pertussis (“whooping cough”) in light of increasing outbreaks of the disease. Especially vulnerable to severe cases and death are infants less than 12 months, though the disease can occur in all ages. “Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease yet outbreaks are occurring all across the United States,” said Jim Conway, MD, FAAP, WIAAP’s Infectious Disease and Immunization chair. Infants begin their pertussis immunization series (Diphtheria-Tetanus-Acellular Pertussis or “DTaP”) at two months, however maximum protection is not achieved until the primary series is completed. Adolescents and adults are recommended to be immunized with a booster dose - “Tdap” – for adolescents this is preferably given at age 11-12 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently made significant changes on the use of the adolescent and adult pertussis vaccine to increase vaccine coverage and protect vulnerable infants. These changes were made after review of safety and immunogenicity data, especially in age groups for which Tdap is not licensed. WIAAP supports those recommendations, and calls for healthcare professionals to heed them.

ACIP now recommends use of Tdap in adults age 65 years and older and undervaccinated children ages 7 to 10 years and ACIP now recommends giving Tdap regardless of interval since last tetanus or diphtheria containing vaccine. By being vaccinated, close contacts of infants create a protective “cocoon” for newborns and infants who either cannot yet be vaccinated or have not completed their initial vaccine series. Studies have indicated that 75%-83% of infant pertussis cases with a known source exposure were caused by an infected household member. Parents and siblings are the most common source, with 55% of cases in infants linked to an infected parent.

Post-partum/breastfeeding women and families should receive the vaccine, if possible, before discharge from the hospital or birthing center. According to ACIP and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a clinician may choose to administer Tdap to a pregnant woman in the 2nd or 3rd trimester in certain circumstances, such as a community pertussis outbreak.

Comprised of nearly 900 members and a part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”), WIAAP works to assure optimal health and safety for Wisconsin’s children and their families through advocacy and collaboration with child interest groups. WIAAP supports Wisconsin pediatricians, enabling them to continue to be the most effective providers of health care to children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Contact Information
Wisconsin Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Kia LaBracke
563 Carter Court, Suite B
Kimberly, WI 54136

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