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Whooping Cough Still Common In New Jersey [AUDIO]

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

New Jersey is still seeing cases of Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, crop up.

Doctor Tina Tan of the State Department of Health and Senior Services says preliminary figures for 2011 show a little over 200 cases statewide which she says is about the annual average. She says “right now, we’re hearing about different reports of pockets of Pertussis activity through out the state. Some of the areas that have been reported in the press recently include Hunterdon and Ocean Counties.”

Tan says keeping child immunizations up to date and adult vaccinations are the best defense against whooping cough. “Especially for new mothers who haven’t received the Pertussis vaccine should get a dose to protect their babies.”

Ocean County Health Department Public Information Officer Leslie Terjesen says they’ve had five confirmed cases of Pertussis since 2011. She’s issuing the same advisory. “People need to Immunize their children. We’re not telling people to run and get your Pertussis vaccination right now. What we want people to do is check your child’s immunizations, make sure they’re up to date.”

Terjesen describes Pertussis symptoms as “severe coughing, coughing spells, vomiting, disturbed sleep because of a child’s coughing. You can loose weight, be incontinent, children have had rib fractures because of the coughing and passing out from violent coughing. She says up to two in 100 adolescents and 5 in 100 adults with Pertussis are hospitalized and have complications including pneumonia.”

Dr. Tan says Pertussis is a bacteria-borne illness that can be contracted from person to person. Other than vaccinations, she also recommends people practice the good personal hygiene habits that they would for any respiratory illness, like frequent hand washing, covering your cough, making sure that you stay home when your sick.

In Ocean County, Immunization Schedules can be found by visiting the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org, under Services/Topics

Dr. Tan recommends that parents take their children to their Primary Care Physicians for their scheduled immunizations but if they don’t have a doctor, she says the State Health Department administers a program called Vaccines For Children, where people who meet certain eligibility criteria can receive those vaccines.

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