Whooping cough vaccine fades in 3 years, study finds - WKRN News 2

Whooping cough vaccine fades in 3 years, study finds

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new study has found that the whooping cough vaccination may only protect a child from the illness for as little as three years.

The findings come from a survey of about 15,000 children in Marin County, California, where an outbreak of the highly contagious bacterial disease killed 11 infants and sickened more than 9,000 people in 2010.

In 2006, there were only about 13,300 new whooping cough cases in the entire country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"It is a bacterial infection. It starts out like a cold [and] can last up to six weeks, with a cough that sounds like a person is whooping," Brian Todd, spokesperson for the Metro Public Health Department explained.

According to Todd, despite the increase in the number of cases in Tennessee, the state is far from an epidemic.

"There has been an increase in Tennessee," he said, adding, "I think in 2007 there were 86 cases and in 2010 there were way over 300 cases."

The state recently passed a requirement for every seventh grader to get the vaccine booster before beginning school.

Todd said the recent study helped answer lingering questions

"It reinforces the idea that you really need to be protected and follow that schedule of immunizations when they are required," he said.

The spokesperson said the vaccination is also important for adults and is included in the regular tetanus vaccination.

It was previously believed that the vaccine protected recipients for four or more years.

For more information on the vaccine, visit the Metro Health Department's Web site.

Read more about whooping cough, or Pertussis, online at CDC.gov.

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