Madison Co. sees spike in whooping cough cases

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JACKSON, Tenn. — The Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department has confirmed a spike in whooping cough cases in Madison County. Health experts said the bacteria can lead to pneumonia and eventually death. Parent Shanna Shearon said she got vaccinated to protect her children. “I just wanted to make sure too that when I was loving on that little baby that I knew that I wasn’t giving him anything unintentionally that I could have prevented,” she said. Shearon works as a regional epidemiologist at the health department. She said in 2010 Madison County had two confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough. Shearon said in 2011 the county had one case and in 2012 it jumped to six cases. She said in 2013 the health department saw another six cases. “As people age, your immunity wears off and you do need to get a booster shot every five years of Tdap,” Shearon said. Tdap stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. If left untreated, health experts said whooping cough can lead to pneumonia and death. “The best treatment is to prevent it before you even get it,” Nurse Practitioner Fred Sesti said. Sesti said whooping cough is most commonly seen in children. Health experts encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated and said kids need regular boosters after birth. “It’s spread through airborne through coughing, but it is highly contagious,” Sesti said. Shearon recommends people who come in contact with infants also get vaccinated. “I wanted to make sure that everyone around me was taking the precautions that I was to protect my children,” she said. The health department said Madison County is on track to have at least another six cases this year, but final numbers are not in yet. Consult your child‘s physician for more information on the whooping cough vaccination.

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