Push for pertussis vaccinations - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Push for pertussis vaccinations

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A plea from New York's health commissioner for everyone to get vaccinated against pertussis.

Also known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes an uncontrollable, violent cough that can last for weeks, even months.

The disease usually affects young children who haven't completed their full course of vaccinations and teens and adults who lose immunity as they get older.

In New York, there have been more than 1,200 cases so far this year. That's three times the number as last year. New York's health commissioner blames the outbreak on the lack of people being vaccinated. He urges everyone to get the shot.

"There are natural evolutions to disease, rise and fall of cases, and unfortunately a drop in vaccinations and a rise in cases has lead to this perfect storm where we have seen a rapid increase in the number of cases. We can do a lot about it, we are rolling out immunizations programs throughout the state and it's really an education campaign. If you haven't been vaccinated, get vaccinated," said Dr. Nirav Shah, the New York health commissioner.

The outbreak is not just a problem in New York. The nation is on track this year to have its worst outbreak in 50 years.

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