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Whooping cough on the rise; immunizations urged

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Updated: 2/09/2013 7:12 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- With cases of whooping cough on the rise in Southern Nevada, a pediatrician is warning groups of people in a segment that could contract the potentially fatal disease to get immunized.

"The best prevention of this disease is immunization," said Dr. Harold Naiman of HealthCare Partners.

Last year, the Southern Nevada Health District reported 83 cases of pertussis, commonly know as whooping cough. That's a four-fold increase from 20 cases in 2011 and 23 cases in 2010.

Nationally, 40,000 pertussis cases were reported last year with nearly 20 deaths.

"Infants we typically immunize at 2, 4 and 6 months with multiple vaccines including the pertussis vaccine," Naiman said. "They get a booster dose at around a year to 15 months and a second booster about the time they enter kindergarten between 4 and 6 years of age."

Naiman is encouraging pregnant women in their third trimester to get vaccinated as well as their husbands or partners along with the elderly.

He said a new TDAP vaccine is being recommended by some of the hospitals in the valley. It helps protect against tetanus, diptheria and pertussis. He suggests asking your doctor about it. The TDAP also gives mothers-to-be a boost against the diseases and provides some passive antibodies through the placenta.

The doctor said a certain segment of the population resists vaccinations.

"Therre's a group that does not believe in vaccinations for reasons I don't understand and we try to educate them as best we can on the dangers of not vaccinating and to some degree they put others at risk in the classroom or daycare or in the doctor's office to catch things that they have decided are not important enough to be vaccinated against," Naiman said.

The doctor noted that whooping cough is a very contagious disease.

"I'd say it's up there with chicken pox and influenza and strep. It is just a very contagious disease," he said.



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