Pertussis vaccinations encouraged in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health said on Nov. 8 that Ohioans should renew their pertussis vaccinations in response to multiple outbreaks across the state.

Pertussis, also known a whooping cough, is highly contagious. Symptoms of pertussis include coughing and apnea.

Infants and children with the infection cough rapidly until the air is gone from the lungs, and they inhale with a "whooping" sound. Extreme coughing can lead to exhaustion and vomiting.

"If your family is going to be welcoming a new baby or if you are a caregiver to young children, it is especially important to get a pertussis booster shot," Dr. Ted Wymyslo, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said. "Not only will it lessen your illness if you get whooping cough, but it can help protect infants who haven't had a chance to get the full series of vaccinations yet."

Pertussis is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in the United States. The disease is usually passed by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others. More than half of infants less than 1 year of age with the infection must visit a hospital. Pertussis leads to death in approximately one case per 100 infections.