‘Whooping cough’ confirmed in pre-schooler’s family

A preschool student at Jefferson City’s Southwest Early Childhood Center, located at 812 St. Mary’s Blvd., has pertussis — more commonly known as the whooping cough — health officials confirmed last week.

And Cole County Public Health Director Marie Peoples said Saturday officials are waiting to see if some other possible cases also will be confirmed — including a non-school situation involving someone over 18.

Health officials throughout the country recommend the DTaP vaccine for children, starting with three shots for babies at 2, 4 and 6 months; a fourth shot between 15 and 18 months old; and a fifth, booster dose when a child begins school, between ages 4 and 6.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends another, single booster shot (TDap) for 11-year-olds through adulthood — especially for those in close contact with a baby, including parents, siblings, grandparents and caregivers.

The Cole County Health Department has 300 doses of the Tdap vaccine, Peoples said, available for anyone 18 or older who hasn’t received it previously.

Local school and health officials are encouraging families to learn more about the disease and recommended vaccines. More information is available from the CDC, at http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis.

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