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State health officials want all residents to get pertussis vaccine

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MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is urging residents to get the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine as several children in the state head off to summer camp.

“The best defense against pertussis continues to be vaccination,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. “We recommend all Wisconsin residents check their vaccination status and schedule a visit to their healthcare providers if they have not yet been immunized against pertussis.”

The DHS says the vaccine is recommended for children aged two months old to six years old. Teens and adults only need a one-time booster.

In a statement the DHS offered advice for families with newborns:

Families with a newborn are encouraged to be immunized as part of a process called “cocooning”, where parents, siblings, grandparents and others are vaccinated to provide additional protection to the newborn, who cannot be vaccinated until they are two months old. Even at that age infants still lack adequate protection.  Newborns with pertussis can experience severe complications, even death. More than half of infected infants require hospitalization.


Pertussis can begin like a cold in infants and young children, with a low grade fever and a mild, irritating cough that can appear within seven to 20 days after exposure. The illness progresses to include explosive coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating and sleeping, and may be followed by vomiting and exhaustion.

For more information about the pertussis vaccination, click here.