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Whooping Cough cases rise in nation, decline in Travis County

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TWC News: Whooping Cough cases rise in nation, decline in Travis County
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Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the U.S. could be on track for the worst year for Whooping Cough in more than five decades.

But while the rest of the nation is experiencing a spike in cases, Travis County hit its peak in 2010 with 908 cases reported and is actually on the downswing.

Sandra Pierce brought her two nephews to the doctor Wednesday for their required vaccinations before school starts.

"Every once in a while they get a cold, but other than that they don't get sick," Pierce said.

And she wants to keep it that way.

One of the vaccines they received, DTaP, helps protect against pertussis, more commonly known as Whooping Cough.

Symptoms for the disease typically appear cold-like at first. They include a runny nose, congestion, fever and a mild cough. If the cough persists, it's time to see a doctor. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Dr. Phil Huang with the Austin Travis County Health and Human Services Department said Whooping Cough is persisting and still around. It's important especially for pregnant women and people who will be around infants to be vaccinated.

"It's really very serious for infants, and so to really protect the people who are around infants also. So that's any care givers , grandparents that are visiting infant grandchildren," Huang said.

Some health officials say the increase in number of cases could be due to changes to the DTaP vaccination.

"There was a change in the formulation of the vaccine in the late 90s. Now they're looking more and more that that might be related, that it might not have as strong of protective effect," Huang said.

A little poke and soreness in the arm can mean protection against a highly contagious disease that can strike people at any age.

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