Whooping cough warning: protection from vaccine may fade quickly

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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says babies are very susceptible to whooping cough, an epidemic that continues to surge in 2013, especially in Weld County.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says babies are very susceptible to whooping cough, an epidemic that continues to surge in 2013

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DENVER -- A warning to parents about whooping cough.  A new study says the vaccine against it may fade over time, leaving your child unprotected. 

So far this year we've seen more than  480 cases here in Colorado and 26,000 cases nationwide, the largest outbreak in 50 years.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,  shows the current vaccine for whooping cough loses more than 40 percent of its effectiveness with each passing year after it's given to patients.  

After five years., studies show only 70 percent of kids who receive it are actually still protected against the illness.

Dr. Aza Fahed of North Aurora Family Health Services says children should receive five doses of the vaccine between the ages of two months and four years with a booster at age 11.

Missing shots can put your child’s health at risk. Dr. Fahed says whooping cough can open the door to more severe illnesses, “It  can cause pneumonia which is infection and also some cases of death.”

Dr. Fahed adds that parents need to know the signs of whooping cough, which is in a dangerous stage “when they cough 10-20 times and stop breathing
(temporarily).”

Parents should also children in clean environments, limit their exposure to surfaces in public areas and keep them away from relatives and friends who may be ill. 

Students show 75 percent of babies catch whooping cough from a family member, which is why it's so important for older children and adults in the house to be vaccinated.

Whooping cough resources and information

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