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Whooping Cough on the rise in New York

New York State is third in the country for reporter Pertussis cases. More cases have been reported in the first nine months of 2012 than were identified through 2011 by year’s end.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- New York State is third in the country for reporter Pertussis cases. More cases have been reported in the first nine months of 2012 than were identified through 2011 by year’s end.

Right now, a Liverpool baby is battling Whooping Cough, also known as Pertussis,  at Upstate University Hospital’s Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The illness is marked by a distinctive, persistent cough. The name comes from the sound a baby makes trying to catch their breath during a coughing fit.

Amanda Riegelman knew that as soon as her son Nathan began having coughing fits he had more than a common cold.

“He started with a teeny, tiny cough,” she said. “Then he progressed to a more severe cough, turned red in the face...it was mainly after he was feeding.”

At four weeks, Nathan weighs just seven pounds. But his mother says he is putting up a fight. His family is clinging to hope that Nathan will have the strength to recover.

Pertussis is quickly growing into an epidemic and it’s often parents that pass it on to their babies. The highly-contagious bacterial disease can be deadly for infants.

“You really want to cocoon protect the infants and the youngest kids especially under a year of age, by vaccinating the people around there. But everybody is recommended to get it, everyone,” said Dr. Joe Domachowske with Golisano Children's Hospital.

Riegelman says she didn’t know she needed to get the shot . She hopes her child’s fight will bring awareness to other parents.

“At night, sometimes you sit there and look at him. You wonder, ‘Okay, are you going to come out of this?’ It’s hard to see him cough, because you don’t know if they’re going to come out of that little coughing fit,” Riegelman said.

Last year in New York, there were 950 cases of Pertussis reported. This year, there have been more than 1,300 and it’s only September.

According to doctors, a new public health law in New York says that all parents and caregivers need to be offered the Pertussis and influenza vaccine before they leave the hospital after having their baby.
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