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Adult Immunization Awareness

Protect yourself and the ones you love against whooping cough.

What is pertussis?

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a contagious disease that affects your lungs and ability to breathe normally. It is caused by a bacterium that is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person. It can be easily spread through a sneeze, a cough, or even talking up close can lead to exposure.

Pertussis is highly contagious during the first week of infection. It is often found that babies have contracted the disease from parents, caregivers or other loved ones.

According to the Department of Community Health, there were over 1,559 reported cases of pertussis, which included the death of a three-month old infant in 2010. Although 2011 saw a decline of about 55 percent, there were still nearly 700 reported cases in the state.

It is likely many cases go undiagnosed or unreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported cases have been rising among teens and infants since the late 1980s.

We can silence the sounds of pertussis by getting a Tdap booster. Creating a circle of protection around your baby is one of the best things you can do.

Reasons for concern

90 percent of reported pertussis deaths are among babies under 4 months of age. 72 percent of babies less than 6 months of age reported to have pertussis, are hospitalized. One in 10 children reported to have pertussis also has pneumonia.

This is why the CDC recommends that adults receive a booster of the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. The CDC and HAP are also encouraging vaccination for mothers of young infants and other close contacts of these children to help protect them until they are fully vaccinated.

When you get vaccinated, not only are helping to protect your own health, you're helping to protect your baby too.

Is your baby or grandchild this close to catching pertussis?

Even if babies have already begun their pertussis vaccine series, they're not fully protected until they've had at least three doses.

The Symptoms:

The symptoms of pertussis typically start 7-10 days after exposure and have three stages of the disease.

  • Stage 1 - Sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild to occasional coughing lasting 1-2 weeks.
  • Stage 2 - Vomiting, cracked ribs and a hernia lasting 1-6 weeks.
  • Stage 3 - Usually lasts 2-3 weeks. In this stage, coughing spasms gradually decrease in intensity and usually disappear after 2-3 weeks.

Let's Silence the Sounds of Pertussis! Get a Postpartum Care Visit and Win!

Members who receive a timely postpartum care visit in 2012 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $250 or $500 Premiere Choice Award gift certificate. If you did not receive a Tdap vaccination upon discharge from the hospital, be sure to ask for it on your first postpartum visit.

Influenza and Pneumonia

Influenza is a serious and contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Adults 65 years of age and older are considered high risk for developing flu-related complications. Pregnant women have also been identified as high risk and are encouraged to receive a flu shot. This year, more than 100,000 members are eligible to receive an annual flu shot.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. Globally, pneumonia causes more deaths than any other infectious disease. However, it can be prevented with vaccines.

While all adults over 65 years of age are encouraged to receive a pneumonia vaccination, adults up to 64 years of age and who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or HIV, and adults 19-64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or have asthma are at increased risk for getting pneumonia. This year, more than 90,000 HMO members are eligible to receive a pneumonia vaccination.

To view the recommended immunization schedule for each family member, please visit Link Opens in a New Window.

To view your immunization status, please log in and visit Health Reminders.

Learn the facts, share the facts and save lives:


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adult Immunization Schedule, 2012.
  2. Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). Pertussis (Whooping Cough) in Michigan, 2012.
  3. Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). Weekly Disease Report, 2012.
  4. Sanofi Pasteur Inc. Sounds of Pertussis, 2010.

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