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Nursing Professionals Address California Whooping Cough Epidemic

The American Nursing Association (ANA) and other professional groups are joining the campaign to raise awareness among nursing professionals, like Sacramento Vocational Nursing, on the California whooping cough epidemic.

In June, the California Department of Health declared an epidemic of this highly contagious yet preventable respiratory disease. More than 900 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, have been reported in California in less than three months. An additional 600 suspected cases are also under investigation. Sadly, five infants also died recently in the state as a result of pertussis infections.

In a special release issued on June 25, the ANA urged nurses, particularly those working closely with infants and newborn babies, to be vaccinated against whooping cough with the tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccine, or “Tdap,” vaccine.

“This is a tragic reminder that vaccine-preventable diseases still exist, and the need to maintain vaccine coverage is vital to protecting the public, especially those most vulnerable,” stated the ANA in its online statement on the outbreak of this bacteria-borne disease.

The ANA also encourages California’s nursing professionals, such as San Francisco Vocational Nursing, to educate pregnant women and parents on whooping cough. In particular, the organization recommends that health professionals promote the need for babies, children and adolescents to be vaccinated against the disease.

Pertussis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The name ‘whooping cough’ is based on the whooping sound generated by sufferers as they attempt to breathe in air during strenuous coughing fits. Babies are especially susceptible to this airborne disease, which can be spread through mucous discharge from the nose and mouth.

Following a 7-10 day incubation period, pertussis sufferers usually experience nasal discharge along with mild coughing and sneezing. Symptoms typically become worse during the next 1-2 weeks, and eventually lead to uncontrollable and aggressive coughing attacks. From this point, sufferers may experience unpleasant coughing fits for an additional 2-8 weeks. In serious cases, particularly those involving infected infants, whooping cough can contribute to severe complications like pneumonia.

Despite the existence of vaccines, contagious diseases like whooping cough remain on rise in California and other parts of the country. As serious illnesses continue to impact more people, the need for qualified licensed vocational nurses who can care for and educate patients will also grow.

If you’ve thought of training for Vocational Nursing jobs in Santa Clara or other parts of the state, now may be the best time to act. Unitek College’s quality LVN education program can help you develop skills you need to help California respond to outbreaks of whooping cough and other preventable diseases.

For additional information on preventing pertussis, please visit: