Cases of pertussis are on the rise in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health counted 2,026 cases last year, the most since 1950, when vaccines became available. Public Health spokesman Melaney Arnold says it seems the vaccine children are required to get loses some of its strength.
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“With the DTP vaccines, health officials were seeing waning immunity when children got to the age of about 10 or 11, so that’s why they came up with this pertussis booster shot, to help reinforce that immunity for it,” she said. The illness can affect adults too. The disease, commonly called whooping cough, is contagious and can be fatal in small children. Larger people will survive, especially with antibiotic treatment.