This Gram-stained photomicrograph depicts numbers of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which is the etiologic pathogen for pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By Todd Wineburner
An increase in cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, has prompted Illinois education officials to extend a the TDAP requirements for public school students. The TDAP is a vaccination designed to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis and Jackie Dever, the Director of Nursing at the Livingston County Public Health Department, says the inoculation and its boosters are only required every few years, so many students are already in compliance with the requirement.
Dever says a simple records check can tell parents whether their children are covered. She says the Department of Health can check records if children have been inoculated at that location. If not, parents should check with the child’s primary physician. Dever encourages anyone who needs the vaccine to act soon, because she says clinics will be more crowded as enrollment time approaches.
Part of the new requirement is driven by a recent outbreak of pertussis that took the lives of several children. Dever says the vaccine is safe and proven, and there’s no sense in letting anyone be harmed by a disease that can be controlled.