California Pertussis Outbreak Declared Epidemic, Vaccine Urged

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) Dept of Nursing Practice and Policy presents the following:

The California Department of Health has declared a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic in the state, after more than 900 cases have been reported and five infants less than three months of age have died. This incidence rate is a four-fold increase from the number of cases reported in June 2009. Studies show that in infant cases of pertussis, 83% of the cases were transmitted by a household member, and 55% of those were from parent to infant.

This is a tragic reminder that vaccine-preventable diseases still exist, and the need to maintain vaccine coverage is vital to protecting the public, especially those most vulnerable. Nurses, especially those in close contact with newborns and infants, should be vaccinated with pertussis vaccine – a tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccine, known as “Tdap”. Nurses should encourage any close contact with infants to be vaccinated with Tdap, and encourage parents to vaccinate children and adolescents against pertussis.

Read the California press release, and get more information on the dosing and recommended schedule for pertussis vaccines.

Visit for more information on nurses and vaccines, part of ANA’s Bringing Immunity to Every Community project.