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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Most parents keep a close eye on their children, making sure to keep them safe and healthy. Now, though, some parents are worried their direct contact with their children may make them sick.

The CDC says an outbreak of whooping cough is sweeping the country, and it may be closer than you think. The highly contagious disease has infected 17,000 people nationwide already this year and has the potential to kill.

“This is unprecedented,” pediatrician Dr. David Hill said. “We’re already at twice the number of cases that we’ve seen in any year since the late 1950s, and it’s definitely hitting home.”

The New Hanover County Health Department says there have been 366 cases of whooping cough in North Carolina this year, and two of those confirmed cases are in the county.

The disease is especially harmful to young children who can catch the cough from caregivers.

Health care professional say you can keep the disease away, though, by getting vaccinated.

“Make sure that your children and and everybody that cares for your children has been properly immunized,” Dr. Hill said.

Some caregivers say they were unaware that even if they already had the vaccine, they may need a booster. One grandmother says Medicare does not cover the shot, so she’s trying to figure out how to pay. But she agrees the money would be well spent to keep her grandson healthy.

“No matter what it costs, it would be worth it to keep this little guy protected,” Hope Hickam said.

The state of North Carolina is trying to help with some of the financial concerns. You can get the pertussis vaccine booster for free. For more information contact your doctor or county health department.

Comment on this Story

  • Concerned Mom

    Are you aware that the vaccine’s effectiveness is being questioned? In Burlington NC they reported 103 cases in March and all of those infected were fully vaccinated. “there’s no instance of a child who had not been vaccinated getting pertussis”


    Why not report the whole story rather than the usual, get a shot and be well rhetoric? The public deserves to know that a vaccine does not guarantee protection. Informed consumers must weigh the risks of the vaccine vs getting pertussis but this cannot be done unless they are truthfully informed.

  • Debbie Voss

    How is getting vaccinated going to keep someone who is already vaccinated, from getting pertussis? Makes no sense. The vaccine is being called into question for it’s effectiveness. The ones that are getting whooping cough are already up to date on vaccines.

  • Debbie Voss

    Australia has stopped vaccinating adults because they found that “cocooning”, or better known as herd immunity, doesn’t work…



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