The Texas Department of State Health Services recently issued a pertussis advisory urging immunization to help prevent the illness from causing fatalities.
Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a contagious bacterial illness usually spread by coughing or sneezing, the DSHS said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 1,100 cases of pertussis in Texas as of Aug. 23, compared to last year’s 961 cases for the entire year. There have been five deaths this year, and four of those deaths were in infants under two months of age — the age when the first dose is recommended. The fifth death, the CDC said, was in an un-vaccinated child who had pre-existing conditions.
“The increased pertussis morbidity as well as the increase in mortality in Texas is a compelling health issue for both the public and private healthcare systems,” DSHS Commissioner David Lakey, M.D., said in a statement.
Dr. Ayman Arouse, a pediatrician on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Cleburne, said he has tested a few children for whooping cough.