POSTED: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 6:12pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 8:19am
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — "We have an outbreak of whooping cough, uh, that's been ongoing for several years in Texas. And particularly this year we're running about 50 percent above last year's number of cases," said Texas Department of State Health Services regional director, Brian Smith.
But it's not just that the 2,000 cases of whooping cough have broken last year's records. Texas is well on its way to surpassing the 3,000+ cases it saw in 2009's outbreak - the worst the state has seen in more than 60 years. And half these outbreaks have been occurring right here in South Texas. But there is good news: it's a vaccine called Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis or "Tdap".
"Children at age eleven get their dose of Tdap, so that's when they get their first dose. But then they will need a second dose, uh, at least every ten years," said Smith.
And it's not just a one-time vaccine. It's important to keep getting immunized with Tdap, especially if you work with small children. Two Texas babies died this year due to whooping cough. Although newborns are too young to receive a vaccine, they are more susceptible to catching it. But adults can help the situation by getting vaccinated themselves.
"It's just important for anyone who works with children to be immunized with Tdap and that's one that all adults should have on a regular basis, ongoing," said Smith.
Reporting in Brownsville, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.