Fight Pertussis With Needles

Central Texas has seen a recent surge in cases of pertussis, with multiple outbreaks confirmed in communities north of Austin to Waco. This uptick follows a wider trend in pertussis outbreaks across the country.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports nearly 18,000 reported pertussis cases in the United States since January, almost double the number of cases seen this time last year. Many of these infections have been among immunized children whose immunity has waned.

TMA's Committee on Maternal and Perinatal Health reminds physicians that we can protect ourselves, children, and especially infants by using the current vaccine schedule to update pertussis immunity.

Pregnant women can and should be immunized to prevent their infants from getting pertussis. Deaths from pertussis occur usually in infants in their first few months, before protection from their immunizations is established.

To protect infants from pertussis, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the Tdap vaccine for infants, pregnant women who have not previously received it, and all infant household contacts or care providers, a practice known as cocooning. Here are the ACIP's most recent pertussis immunization recommendations.

For more information on pertussis, including current insurance reimbursement policies for Tdap vaccination, visit the Pertussis page on the TMA website. It includes a link to the TMA Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program, which provides vaccine resources for patients and physicians, including the handout Facts About Pertussis.

Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.  

Action, Sept. 5, 2012