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WATERTOWN — Jefferson County has an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, with 23 confirmed cases since June 1.

Are you and your family up to date on your vaccinations?

You voted:

According to Jefferson County Public Health Service, which announced the outbreak Thursday, ages of the victims range from five months to 15 years old. The most common symptom is uncontrollable coughing followed by a “whoop sound.”

According to county public health, an infected individual can transmit whooping cough through coughing, sneezing or allowing direct contact with their respiratory secretions. Adults, older children, people who are vaccinated or who have been previously infected with whooping cough may experience milder symptoms, but can still transmit the illness.

“Whooping cough is a highly communicable disease. Infants and young children are at greatest risk for severe, even deadly, complications,” wrote Ginger Hall, director of Jefferson County Public Health Service, in a statement. “Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease and we are urging everyone to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. Vaccination is the best defense against whooping cough.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(3) comments

Holmes -- the real one

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a serious illness. It's highly contagious. Contracting whooping cough can have life threatening consequences with the potential for developing pneumonia, as well as brain damage and seizures. Every year people die as a result of having whooping cough.

It is hard to imagine a parent choosing not to vaccinate their child.

Smjustice

All of these children have been vaccinated. Children are required in New York to be vaccinated to go to public school unless they have a medical exemption. These children were vaccinated and still developed Pertussis.

Holmes -- the real one

Smjustice --

Do you have evidence of this?

Or is it simply your inference that all the individuals affected in this outbreak have been vaccinated for pertussis?

We all are aware (or should be) of NYState law. Go back and look at the age span of the group described before you draw your conclusions.

Having reminded you of that, I want to make clear that it IS possible for vaccinated individuals to become infected if exposed to an active case, though it is much less likely.

Immunity depends on the body having previous exposure to a pathogen so that the immune system can develop its defense. This is a complicated system and despite the fact that it is usually remarkably protective, things can go awry. You might want to research this and consider some possibilities of how this can happen.

Bordetella pertussis infects the respiratory system because it has affinity for the receptors located on the cells in that system. There are many aspects of that attraction that can affect a person's immunity as well.

Acquired immunity is a huge topic in itself.

Bordetella is is a fascinating genus.

If you are interested in just how the attachment and infection occurs and what might influence that -- here are a few references to get you started:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2554109

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC186182/pdf/iai00003-0009.pdf


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