Protect Against Pertussis

In the history of pertussis, in 1934 there were 265,000 cases in the U.S. with nearly 8,000 deaths. Today there are approximately 2,000 to 10,000 cases reported to the CDC but they believe the actual numbers may be 40,000 to 100,000 due to a lack of incident reporting, especially since teenagers may have it and only show symptoms of a bad cold or flu. The percentage of deaths from pertussis is much lower due to medical treatment advances such as breathing tubes, intravenous hydration and a better understanding of the disease. Infants are particularly at risk for complications from pertussis, with the highest percentage of complications occurring in children less than six months of age. Complications include bacterial pneumonia, seizures, ear infections and dehydration. The most common of these complications is bacterial pneumonia, which is also the most common cause of death from pertussis.

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Dr. Reginald Eadie
DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital

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