BLUE SPRINGS, MO October 19, 2004 With cold and flu season just around the corner, parents need to be aware of another serious illness that could affect their teenagers, pertussis. Commonly known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory system that causes spasms of severe coughing and often masquerades as common ailments such as a cold or the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that 39 percent of the reported pertussis cases in 2003 affected children between the ages 10 and 19. Recent outbreaks have prompted a growing concern in the public health community that parents and teens are not aware of these trends and may assume this highly contagious disease, which can be serious in infants, is just a cough.
According to the results of a new national survey of parents of teenagers conducted by the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM), less than one in five parents surveyed (approximately 18 percent) reported being concerned with the prospect of their child contracting pertussis, and more than 25 percent aware offamiliar the illness could not name one symptom. It is important for parents, teens and healthcare providers to remember that childhood immunization against pertussis wears off five to 10 years after the last routine vaccination shot (administered when children are between four and six years old). According to the survey, the majority (85 percent) of parents of adolescents did not know the duration of pertussis protection. Today, many adolescents are vulnerable and unprotected against this serious disease.
There have been numerous outbreaks over the last year in many states, including New York, Illinois and Wisconsin where most of the patients were adolescents. Afflicted teens are often forced to sit on the sidelines, unable to attend classes, or participate in sports and social events for a week or more because of the severity of theiPage: 1 2 3 4 5 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Vilena Katanova
Cohn & Wolfe
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