More whooping cough cases: Minister advises vaccination

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Written By Maya Cantina

Munich

“Whooping cough is highly contagious. Although the disease often manifests itself as a strong and prolonged cough in adolescents and adults, serious complications can occur in infants,” said Gerlach. Adults are a common source of infection.

The chairman of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL), Christian Weidner, added: Whooping cough is a bacterial infectious disease transmitted via droplets. “The excruciating coughing fits associated with the disease can sometimes lead to vomiting and even cause groin and rib fractures.” Serious complications such as pneumonia or, in the worst case, respiratory failure mainly occur in the first year of life.

Gerlach pointed out that a newborn baby can be protected by vaccinating the mother during pregnancy. A healthy and fully vaccinated environment can also contribute to protection. According to the recommendation of the Permanent Vaccination Committee (STIKO), children and adults should be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Weidner explained: “A vaccination, like a disease, unfortunately does not provide long-term protection against reinfection.” The goal is therefore to provide basic immunization to infants and toddlers as early and fully as possible, as well as boosters in preschool and adolescence. Vaccination of adults serves both self-protection and important herd protection for children.

For basic immunization in children, three vaccinations are generally recommended at the ages of two, four and eleven months, with a combination vaccine that simultaneously protects against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B. Booster vaccinations follow after a few years. Vaccination against whooping cough in pregnant women is particularly important: it protects the pregnant woman and, after birth, the child through the antibodies provided by the mother.



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