CDC recommends pertussis vaccination for healthcare workers

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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control voted this week to recommend pertussis vaccination with Tdap vaccine for healthcare workers. Nurses, aides, physicians and social workers are among the group advised to receive the vaccine.

Pertussis is considered a relatively mild disease in adults and adolescents. Still, many cough, vomit or suffer complications, including pneumonia and rib fractures. Adults above the age of 55 may be at risk for complications associated with pertussis, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and seizures. The number of pertussis cases expanded to nearly 26,000 in 2004, more than double the total in 2003.

Healthcare workers who work in healthcare settings and have direct patient contact should receive a single dose of Tdap vaccine as soon as feasible if they have not previously received a Tdap booster, the recommendations said.