Virginia Sees Drastic Rise in Whooping Cough Cases

August 15, 2011

Virginia health and school officials are urging parents to get their children vaccinated for whooping cough before the start of school.

There had been 189 cases of whooping cough statewide as of June 30, compared to 87 cases during the same period in 2010.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes severe coughing fits. It's among the required vaccinations for kindergarten students.

Sixth graders also must have the Tdap booster shot if it's been at least five years since their last dose.

Norfolk public health nurse supervisor Debra Evans-Godfrey tells The Virginian-Pilot that every year typically hundreds of students are held back on the first day of school because they haven't had their Tdap shot.

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