With some areas of the state seeing an increase in whooping cough, known medically as pertussis, the Department of Health urges all Pennsylvanians to ensure they are protected against the vaccine-preventable disease.

The department will soon hold public vaccination clinics in York and Delaware counties, where cases of pertussis have been rising.

Pertussis is an infection of the respiratory system and is characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping" sound when the person breathes in.

The pertussis vaccine is recommended for children to enter school. Because immunity from the vaccine fades over time, most adolescents and adults are susceptible to the disease. In addition to the typical childhood series of pertussis immunizations at 2, 4, 6, 15-18 months and a booster at 4-6 years, the Department of Health recommends the adolescent-adult pertussis vaccine, Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis, or Tdap, booster for:

* individuals 10-64 years of age who are not fully immunized;

* women of childbearing age, before or immediately after pregnancy;

* people who have contact with pregnant women or infants too young to have received a full series of vaccinations; and

* all family members and caregivers of infants.

Individuals should talk to their doctor to discuss their current vaccine status or request the vaccine.

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold including runny nose, sneezing, mild cough and low-grade fever. After about one to two weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells that can last for more than one minute and can lead to vomiting.

For more information about immunizations, visit www.vaccinesforlife.com or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Media contact: Holli Senior, 717-787-1783

Editor's Note: Correction - this news release originally stated that pertussis vaccination is required for children to enter school. It is recommended, but not required.

Public vaccination clinics will be offered in York and Delaware counties at the following dates and times:

York County

Aug. 25

9 a.m. – noon; 1 – 3 p.m.

Albert S. Weyer Health Center

435 W. Philadelphia Street


9 a.m. - noon

1750 N. George Street


Delaware County

Aug. 25

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Delaware State Health Center

151 W. Fifth Street


Aug. 30

3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Penn State - Brandywine Campus

Commons/Athletic Building
25 Yearsley Mill Road Route 352 (enter at Campus Drive traffic light)