MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Mobile County has had 78 cases related to the pertussis outbreak, according to the Mobile County Health Department.
Known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease and is marked by uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe.
In all of 2013, only eight confirmed and probable cases were reported. Of the 78 cases reported thus far, 63 have been confirmed. Of that number, 13 are probable cases and seven of the cases are being investigated.
Infants, less than a year old and young children are mostly affected by the infection. The best way to protect against pertussis is through immunization.
Doctors urge residents to be aware of the disease and its consequences. Once a pertussis case has been confirmed, all members residing with the infected individual should seek antibiotics.
Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, a Tdap vaccination became mandatory for students age 11 and older entering the sixth grade in Alabama. The Tdap shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
Vaccinations are available on weekdays at MCHD’s downtown location, 251 North Bayou St., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All required or recommended vaccinations are free or low-cost based on eligibility. Appointments are recommended, but not required. Parents and caregivers must bring their children’s immunizations records, Social Security cards and Medicaid cards or other insurance verification. Immunizations by appointment are available at all Family Health locations in Mobile. For appointments, call 251-690-8889.