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Health Experts Urge Adults to Get Whooping Cough Vaccine

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DUBUQUE, Iowa - Last year, there were more than 27,000 cases of Pertussis or whooping cough reported in the U.S. 427 of them were in Iowa. In Dubuque this year, there have been 25 confirmed cases.

State health officials say while this isn't sign of a in the illness, they still worry there could be. They say that's because most adults don't get the whooping cough vaccine.

For decades health care professionals have been urging parents to get their children vaccinated for a number of illnesses, including whooping cough. Now experts want all adults to get the vaccine.

Visiting Nurses Association Director Nan Colin said, "often times by the time children get to be teenagers that immunity has gone away. So they need to be re-immunized by using a new vaccine. "

Doctors often give new mothers the vaccine, but not a baby's other care takers.

Mercy Medical Center's Ann Burds said, "Young infants don't have immunity to Pertussis, so it's important for parents, grandparents, and anyone who is employed in health care. "

Since parents don't always know everyone who is around their children, experts say that's why it's increasingly important to keep kids up to date with vaccinations.

Colin said, "people who refuse to get their kids immunized are relying on herd immunity. They assume the rest of the community is immune. In this case the rest of the community is not immune. "

While the decision to vaccinate is up to the parents, the state of Iowa does require all children to get the whooping cough vaccine before starting Kindergarten.

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