Whooping Cough: EAMC fights health risk

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - A deadly respiratory disease is making a comeback and your baby could be at risk. The East Alabama Medical Center used to see one case of whooping cough every five years.  Recently with the past two years, the hospital is seeing two to four cases each year.

Now it's working to keep this potential health risk at bay.

A happy, healthy baby. It's what every parent wants for their child. It's also what Obstetricians like Dr. Kerri Hensarling, want for their patients. Now parents, who deliver at EAMC, are being encouraged to get vaccinated for Pertussis or whooping cough.

"Absolutely this is new protocol this is something we are just now trying to be very aggressive about asking adults to make sure to get this booster," explained Dr. Hensarling.

"When children get it in obstructs their airways and that's why it's called whooping cough they make this whooping sound and the child can go into respiratory distress and can die from the whooping cough," explained Benja Morgan.

Morgan is a registered nurse and EAMC's infection prevention director. She explained why the deadly and highly contagious bacterial infection is making a comeback.

"I do think the surge nation wide with people not getting vaccinated is do to the autism fear." she said.

But Morgan says there's no proven, medical link between vaccines and autism.

"We thought protossus and measles were just about eradicated, but because people are not getting vaccinated we are seeing a resurgence and that's a problem," she said.

Most babies, who are too young themselves to be vaccinated, get whooping cough from a family member.

Even if you have been vaccinated as a child, the vaccine can loose it's ability to protect after five to ten years. That's why doctors at EAMC are encouraging you to protect your baby, by protecting yourself.

Your doctor can tell you what vaccines you or your child may need. 

Additional links