By SHERRY JACOBSON
North Texas is experiencing the most whooping cough cases since 2004, health officials said Monday.
As of Nov. 14, Dallas County reported 329 pertussis cases, said Zachary Thompson, director of county health and human services.
Tarrant County reported a larger outbreak with 601 cases as of Nov. 18. Denton County reported 229.
The disease was supposed to disappear after a vaccine was widely embraced in the 1950s.
The most recent vaccine, however, is not as strong as previous versions.
Dallas County issued its first pertussis alert this year in September when 215 whooping cough cases were reported. There were 220 cases all of last year.
Texas reported 3,187 cases as of last week, including three deaths. About 12 percent of the people required hospital care.
Dallas County officials sent out a second alert two weeks ago. They warned doctors to suspect pertussis when a patient has upper-respiratory symptoms and a cough that lingers for weeks.
“The best way to protect against pertussis is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, the county’s medical director. “Adults and children need to stay current with their vaccination schedules.”
Government guidelines say children should get five shots administered with two other vaccines. The shots are given between the ages of 2 months and 6 years.
A sixth shot was added in 2005 for 10- to 18-year-olds. Adults also should get a booster shot.
Whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics, but the people most vulnerable to severe symptoms and…Continued here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20131125-dallas-fort-worth-area-reports-most-whooping-cough-cases-since-2004.ece