State Takes Emergency Action To Fight Wooping Cough Epidemic

May 3, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire is reaching into emergency funds to help contain the state's whooping cough epidemic.

Thursday Gregoire announced she will make $90,000 in crisis cash available to help strengthen a public awareness campaign about the need for vaccination. The State Department of Health is already looking to spend about $200,000 on the effort.

The message: Babies are not getting the disease from other babies.

Gregoire: “They’re getting it from unvaccinated adults and teenagers. Adults who were vaccinated as children are no longer immune. We need boosters in our teens and as adults.”

Beginning next week, more than 27,000 doses of whooping cough vaccine will be available for people without health insurance. Gregoire says she’s prepared to allocate more money for vaccines, if needed.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread
by coughing and sneezing. Health officials say the state is on pace to reach
more than 3,000 whooping cough cases this year.

That's a level that hasn't been seen in decades.

Copyright 2012 KUOW