232012Feb

Health Department Announces Plans for Next Phase of Pertussis Outbreak Response

tdap

Free Tdap vaccine to be offered at special Mebane clinic on March 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 23, 2012


BURLINGTON – Officials from the Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) announced additional plans today to address a community pertussis outbreak, now into its third month.

Since mid-December 2011, there have been 82 laboratory confirmed, probable, or epidemiologically-linked cases of pertussis (whooping cough) affecting 14 schools and child care centers throughout Alamance County.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection that often starts with typical cold symptoms (runny nose, low grade fever, and possibly cough) and over 1-2 weeks, usually develops into prolonged bursts of coughing, often with a whooping noise at the end. The person usually feels well between attacks. “The health department continues to monitor and investigate new reports of pertussis.  However, as a part of outbreak response measures, a greater emphasis on the need for vaccination is necessary to prevent further spread of pertussis in the community,” said Kathleen Shapley-Quinn, MD, ACHD Medical Director.

For a limited period of time, restrictions have been lifted as to who can receive the Tdap vaccine.  The shot, which is normally $35.00, is now being offered for free.

The Tdap vaccine is strongly recommended for the following populations:
• Children 11 or 12 years of age (in North Carolina, this is required for students entering the 6th Grade.
• Adults who have not already received the Tdap vaccine (Tdap did not become available until 2005.
• Those with family members at risk for severe disease, if they develop pertussis, including:  Infants less than 12 months of age  Immunocompromised individuals
•   Pregnant women ( > 30 weeks gestation)

Free Tdap is being offered on a walk-in basis at the health department, Monday-Friday, from 8:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M., and again from 1:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M.

In addition, a community-wide Tdap vaccination clinic will be held on Friday, March 2, from 3:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M., at the Mebane Arts and Community Center.  The center is located at 633 Corregidor Street in Mebane.

Receiving the Tdap vaccine will help prevent infection not only in children and adults, but also in infants.  Ultimately, receiving the Tdap vaccine significantly decreases the risk of pertussis in newborns and infants.

For additional information about pertussis or the Tdap vaccine please call the health department at (336) 227-0101.