DSHS Issues Pertussis Alert

Six deaths and more than 1,000 cases of pertussis in Texas so far this year prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to issue a health advisory urging immunization against the illness.

DSHS urges physicians who suspect pertussis to report the case to their local health department as soon as possible. Patients who have pertussis should not return to work or school until they've had five days of antibiotic treatment.

Health officials said the six deaths so far this year are the most for a single year since 2005. Five of the deaths were among infants younger than 2 months, the age at which the first pertussis vaccination is recommended. The sixth death was of an unvaccinated older child with underlying medical conditions. 

TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program combines education and hands-on immunization clinics to increase statewide vaccination rates. Be Wise offers physicians current information and best practices on childhood and adolescent immunization and educational materials for patients to promote the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines.

Be Wise offers tools to help you implement or enhance existing vaccination practices.

  • Use the Be Wise physician childhood and adolescent toolkits to put vaccination best practices in place in your office. The toolkits inform you and your staff how to use ImmTrac (Texas' immunization registry), join the Texas Vaccines for Children program, and talk to parents about conscientious objection.  
  • Take continuing medical education (CME) courses offered through Be Wise. Each year, programs about timely vaccination topics are available to physicians at TexMed, the association's annual meeting. Other CME programs are offered continually.  
  • Join the Be Wise Advocates Panel and help get the word out about the importance and safety of vaccinations by writing a letter to the editor or becoming a spokesperson on vaccinations.  

Action, Sept. 17, 2012