Danger to infants: Minister of Health advises against protection against whooping cough
Whooping cough is highly contagious and can be particularly dangerous for infants. The number of infections rose to a new high last year. Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml advises on vaccination.
Especially dangerous for infants
Whooping cough (pertussis) occurs all year round, but the infections are generally somewhat more common in autumn and winter. In Germany, an unusually large number of people have recently become infected. The childhood disease, which also occurs in adults, is particularly dangerous for infants. There were even a few deaths in the past year. Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml (CSU) now advises whooping cough vaccination.
As the dpa news agency reports, the minister said on Sunday: "Whooping cough is highly contagious. Only vaccination can provide effective protection against it. ”According to the information, 325 people in the Free State are already suffering from whooping cough this year.
“Infants are the most affected by serious illnesses. Therefore, parents, grandparents and siblings should be given whooping cough vaccinations at least four weeks before the birth of a child, ”said the politician.
Number of whooping cough infections at a new high
3,017 whooping cough cases were registered in Bavaria last year, significantly more than in the previous year. At that time, only 2,110 cases were reported, according to the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL).
According to the ministry, improved diagnostic procedures could be a reason for the increase in numbers.
Nationwide, the number of whooping cough infections has risen to a new high. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered a total of 22,119 cases in 2016. That was by far the most since the nationwide reporting obligation began in 2013.
Transmission occurs through droplet infection
The transmission of the highly contagious infectious disease "occurs through droplet infection, which can occur through close contact with an infectious person, through large droplets within a distance of up to approx. 1 meter through coughing, sneezing or speaking", the RKI experts write on their website.
"Adolescents and adults play an important role as carriers of infants," it continues. The incubation period is usually nine to ten days (range: six to 20 days).
Basic immunization for children
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends starting the basic immunization against whooping cough, consisting of four vaccine doses, from the age of two months and completing it by the 14th month of life at the latest.
The vaccination should be refreshed once at the age of five to six and from nine to 17 years.
According to the Bavarian Ministry of Health, the vaccination recommendation also applies to women of childbearing age and to staff in the health service and in community facilities. Adults should therefore receive the vaccination once in combination with protection against tetanus and diphtheria.
According to the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), the injection site may swell, hurt or turn red after vaccination. In addition, increased temperature, chills, fatigue, muscle pain and gastrointestinal complaints are possible. However, the symptoms usually subside after three days at the latest. (ad)