Rite Aid Pharmacies encourages Washington residents to vaccinate themselves and their children amid increasing pertussis cases in the state, the company announced Monday.
According to the announcement 319 cases have been reported in 2015, a 551 percent increase from 2014. Despite a pertussis vaccine being included in vaccination schedules, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a vaccine dose at age 11 or 12 and for anyone who is likely to come in contact with infants or very young children. This includes grandparents, parents, other family members, health workers, daycare employees and preschool staff.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness that causes coughing fits. It can be lethal to infants, and the CDC states that half of patients under a year old require hospitalization.
Symptoms of whooping cough include a low-grade fever, a runny nose, and apnea in babies. Further progression of the disease can include vomiting and exhaustion. According to the CDC, respiratory complications can occur months after the initial infection.
Certified immunization specialists are available at Rite Aid locations and can administer vaccines for pertussis and other vaccines in the CDC guidelines.