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Whooping cough shots for adults on March 24

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — In response to the ongoing whooping cough epidemic in the area, the Snohomish Health District continues to encourage all adults, especially those who have contact with infants, to get vaccinated against this preventable disease.

People of all ages need booster shots to maintain their immunity, and most adults aren't up to date on their shots. You can visit your regular doctor or pharmacist to get vaccinated, or come to a free clinic. A single shot known as "Tdap" prevents tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, a.k.a. whooping cough. You can contact your health care provider or pharmacy to make sure you and your child are fully immunized.

The Snohomish Health District and the Sea Mar Community Health Center will offer free vaccine to protect adults from whooping cough from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, at the Sea Mar clinic at 17707 W. Main St. in Monroe, Wash. Flu vaccine also will be offered. Please call for an appointment between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 20-23 at 425-339-8694. Walk-ins are welcome at the clinic, but appointments are recommended.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is harbored and spread by adults and is particularly harmful to infants, who have no immunity. Children and adults can become sick enough to miss school and work for several days, up to two weeks.

So far in 2012, the Snohomish Health District has confirmed 178 reports of whooping cough, most in children who have spread the disease in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as at youth sports, weekend events, daycares and other activities. The number of whooping cough reports in Snohomish County began to climb upward in 2011, hitting a total of 224 confirmed cases, including an infant who died in August. The total in 2010 was 25. Only 8 percent of adults nationwide are current with the Tdap vaccine, according to a National Health Interview Survey in 2010.

"We are concerned that pertussis is continually circulating among the many unvaccinated adults, who tend to have relatively mild disease that is not treated," said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. "To reach unvaccinated adults who are uninsured or underinsured, we are working closely with community partners to support mass vaccination clinics across the county."

High-risk groups who need the vaccine include pregnant women in their third trimester, adults who have close contact with infants, young children, or pregnant women in Snohomish County.

You can download vaccine information sheets and consent forms in English and Spanish at the Snohomish Health District's website at www.snohd.org.

The Snohomish Health District is supplying 250 doses of Tdap vaccine to Sea Mar in Monroe from a vaccine donation through the AmeriCares patient assistance program of Sanofi-Pasteur.

"We are grateful to the Sea Mar Community Health Center, the Medical Reserve Corps and Sanofi-Pasteur for helping us fight the spread of whooping cough through these special clinics" Goldbaum said.

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