CHICAGO, IL | September 8, 2021
Pertussis, commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a serious and highly contagious respiratory illness that can affect people of all ages and especially those living with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma. Today, the American Lung Association launched the Pertussis Educational Campaign, sponsored in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, to help educate adults living with asthma about the potential dangers of pertussis and the importance of vaccination to help prevent the disease.
“While anyone can get pertussis, adults living with asthma are four times more likely to get the infection and have complications,” said Albert Rizzo, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. “A vaccine is widely available, unfortunately only 31% of adults in the U.S. received a pertussis vaccine in the past 10 years. This leaves too many people vulnerable to the disease, which is why this program and our partnership with Sanofi on this educational campaign is so important for adults living with asthma.”
Many people assume that pertussis is a childhood illness, however it can affect people of all ages. Whooping cough can lead to severe, sometimes life-threatening health challenges. This includes exacerbation of chronic medical conditions such as asthma. Symptoms of whooping cough begin seven to ten days after exposure and the infection is most easily recognized by the “whooping” sound that occurs when the individual gasps for air after a coughing fit. Pertussis often goes undiagnosed, yet it is preventable through vaccination. Tdap vaccination has been used since 2005 and helps protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, but it is underused.
“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been reminded how critical vaccination is to help protect ourselves from preventable infectious diseases. Pertussis is one of these diseases. In fact, one person infected with pertussis can transmit it to as many as 17 other people,” said Vitali Pool, M.D., Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs at Sanofi Pasteur. “We are proud to be partnering with the American Lung Association on this initiative that helps to educate about pertussis and the importance of protecting yourself from it by talking to your doctor about getting a Tdap vaccine, especially if you have asthma.”
The Lung Association’s Pertussis Educational Campaign includes online resources with key facts about pertussis, an online assessment and targeted outreach to raise awareness about the disease to high-risk individuals.
The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) urges maintaining routine vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect against infectious respiratory diseases, including whooping cough.
If you are living with asthma, visit Lung.org/pertussis to learn more and speak with your healthcare provider about getting a vaccination to protect against pertussis.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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