Cole County Giving Free Vaccines to Fight Whooping Cough
COLE COUNTY - A recent outbreak of pertussis, or "whooping cough," at a Southwest Early Childhood Center in Cole County has people taking measures prevent the illness.
The Cole County Health Department received 300 free vaccines from a privately funded grant called Give Immunity Fight Transmission (GIFT). The vaccines are for adults only and last a lifetime.
Rachel Hahn with the Cole County Health Department said the vaccine will help prevent whooping cough in adults as well as children.
"90 percent of children who are infected are infected by their mothers, so the best strategy we have to prevent whooping cough or pertussis in children is to vaccinate adults," Hahn said.
Hahn said the illness starts with cold-like symptoms then progresses into a stronger cough that can last up to ten weeks. She said strong cases can also cause vomiting.
Jefferson City Public Schools said they are taking some preventative measures to help stop the spread. According to a spokesperson, the school sent letters home and made phone calls to families of children who attend Southwest Early Childhood Center about the illness. They also posted preventative tips on the school district website and facebook page.
The Cole County Health Department is giving the vaccine free of charge for the first 300 adults.