CDC advises whooping cough vaccine for the elderly

February 23, 2012

A federal advisory panel is recommending that doctors administer a childhood vaccine to the elderly as well. That comes after an increase in the number of whooping cough cases in adults. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2010 more than 27,000 cases of pertussis or whooping cough were reported in the United States. That’s one of the highest numbers in five decades.

An advisory panel at the CDC is recommending that all adults over 65 be vaccinated for whooping cough. The recommendation is intended to prevent older adults from spreading the disease to infants, who are most vulnerable.

The shot is already suggested for younger adults and a whooping cough vaccine is included in childhood shots.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease that leads to severe coughing. It causes children to make a distinctive whooping sound as they gasp for breath.

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