Thursday, October 18, 2012
Clatsop County Public Health Urges Immunization For Community Immunity
Oct. 17, 2012
Clatsop County Public Health Department reminds citizens that immunization provides protection for the entire community.
Oregon is currently experiencing an epidemic of pertussis, or whooping cough, which is a highly contagious respiratory disease. As of mid-September, there have been 17 cases of pertussis in Clatsop County this year, which is too many for any vaccine- preventable disease.
For adults, whooping cough is an annoyance that can linger up to three months. But for newborns who are too young to be vaccinated, pertussis can be deadly. Their tiny bodies have a hard time tolerating the wracking coughs, and infants are the most vulnerable to serious complications. This year in Oregon, 21 infants have been hospitalized for pertussis, all of them too young to be fully immunized.
But these children are not getting the illness from each other, they’re getting it from adults and older siblings. That’s why it’s crucial for adolescents and adults to get the one-time Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) booster shot to help develop what’s called “community immunity.” Many people don’t realize that immunity weakens over time, so everyone should continue to receive a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years. The science is clear that flu, Tdap and other vaccines are extremely safe and effective. The more residents vaccinated, the higher the immunity for the entire community and the lower the disease rate.
Another way adults can protect children from serious illness is by getting a seasonal flu shot every year to provide protection throughout flu season, which runs from August until the end of June. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot. While in most cases the illness causes only misery and missed work, even healthy people can get the flu and spread it to others, and at its very worst, it can cause serious secondary diseases like pneumonia. Last flu season, 34 children in the United States died from influenza.
To find out more about immunization, for both children and adults, talk to your primary health care provider or call the Clatsop County Public Health Department at (503) 325-8500.
Community Relations Coordinator