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On-Site Vaccination Utilized to Control Pertussis Outbreak

High school outbreak did not push people to get immunized

FRIDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- A school-based vaccination clinic was set up to control an outbreak of pertussis in a Cook County, Ill., high school after multiple recommendations to get vaccinated went unheeded, according to a report published in the July 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Catherine A. Counard, M.D., of the Cook County Department of Public Health in Oak Park, Ill., and colleagues report that the first case at a local high school, in a student aged 17 years, was reported on Sept. 6, 2006. Between September 2006 and January 2007 there were 36 cases directly linked to the high school among its population of 4,154 students and 651 staff.

Despite the efforts of the Cook County Department of Public Health and local physician practices to encourage children to be vaccinated, by mid-November an anonymous survey of students and staff revealed that only approximately 30 percent of students and 17 percent of staff had been vaccinated. A voluntary immunization clinic was held at the school in early December, during which time 1,084 students (26.1 percent) and 416 staff (63.9 percent) were vaccinated.

"Because persons at risk for pertussis might not seek vaccination from their usual health care provider, even during an outbreak, local health departments might consider early implementation of a cough exclusion policy and on-site Tdap vaccination clinic as control measures," the authors write.

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