Whooping cough on the rise in South Carolina

State health officials in South Carolina have reported that the number of pertussis cases, or whooping cough, have begun to rise.

Susie Makison, of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, told that, to date, 290 whooping cough cases have been reported across the state. At this time last year, she said, only 211 cases had been reported.

Makison said that children are vaccinated for pertussis before starting school. The immunity, however, wears off over time. As a result, a booster vaccine known as Tdap was created in 2005 for anyone between the ages of 11 and 64.

“You need to get this is you have anything to do with infants, children, pregnant women,” Makison said, reports.

Makison said that the Tdap booster is extremely important for those who interact with newborns who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated. While adults can carry the illness and not even know it, children under one risk serious complications.

“These babies just don’t tolerate this disease,” Makison said, reports.

Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that protection from the childhood whooping cough vaccine starts to wear off after approximately five to 10 years, leaving preteens, adolescents and adults at risk of catching and spreading the disease.

As long as certain criteria are met, the CDC recommends that adolescents aged 11 to 18 years old receive one dose of the Tdap vaccine.

The CDC’s recent October Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, however, shows that Tdap vaccinations are lagging.

To improve Tdap vaccination rates, the CDC is urging health care providers to administer the vaccine to anyone aged 18 to 64 that has not had a tetanus shot in 10 years.