MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS) -- The number of cases of whooping cough in Tennessee this past year nearly tripled. State epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones says the increase is not unexpected since Pertussis is a cyclical illness.
“It’s an increase, you know, but in 2009 and in 2010 we had more than 200 cases, so it’s a disease that goes up and down. And our numbers are still really low compared to many other states where they’re seeing in the thousands per year.”
Dr. Jones says the best protection is the Pertussis vaccine which people first receive as young children, but which does require a booster.
“Anyone who is 11 years old or older, who has not had a booster of the TDAP vaccine, or the vaccine that includes pertussis – we strongly encourage them to go out and get that.”
Pertussis is spread from person to person through the air. It can cause a severe cough lasting four to six weeks or longer, and in some cases can be fatal.