Pertussis outbreak can be blamed on low vaccination rates

Utah experiencing highest incidence of whooping cough since 1946

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11 2012 5:08 p.m. MDT

Slowing or stopping the spread of the disease can only be done through greater public outreach efforts, including ensuring that kids complete the dosing series on time — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, between 12 and 15 months of age and before kindergarten — and that individuals don't wait on booster doses between age 11 and 12 and again in adulthood, Pavia said.

"These things will reduce the spread of an epidemic like this, but there isn't a silver bullet that will shut it off completely," he said.

Vaccine-preventable illnesses are dependent on high vaccination rates throughout the community, Jeppson said.

"The best thing you can do at this point to protect yourself is to get vaccinated," he said. "It not only protects yourself, but helps keep others from getting sick."

Jeppson said people should also practice "proper respiratory etiquette" and cough into a tissue or on a sleeve, instead of into the air where it can be transmitted to others. Regular hand-washing is important, he said, as well as staying home when sick, to avoid passing any sickness to others.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com Twitter: wendyleonards

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