As we get ready to head back to school, doctors say kids aren't the only ones who should be getting vaccinations. Growing concerns about pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, have healthcare experts recommending adults get vaccinated for it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were more than 27,500 confirmed cases of pertussis nationwide in 2010. That's the highest number since 1959 and may not tell the full story, experts say, because many cases of the disease go unreported or undiagnosed.
Closer to home, the Virginia Department of Health says it has confirmed 315 cases of pertussis to date in 2012, up from that same time period last year, when there were only 235. There were 367 total cases in Virginia for all of 2011.
Doctors say one of the reasons pertussis is making a comeback is because unvaccinated adults are carrying it and passing it on to children.
The CDC now recommends that adults who are in close contact with children 12 months or younger get the Tdap vaccine. They recommend pregnant women in their late second to third trimester get the vaccine as well.
"I know there is sometimes controversy over immunizations and do they cause other problems," said Dr. Steve Osborn, with Doctors Express in Roanoke. "But in general, if everybody quit doing them then you're going to see things like pertussis get big or become epidemics. Then, you're going to start seeing a lot more problems."
Even if you're not in close contact with young children or pregnant, the CDC still recommends you get the Tdap vaccination once during your adult lifetime.