Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whooping Cough Outbreak!

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Whooping Cough Outbreaks in Evanston, IL
5 Confirmed Cases; Passport Health Urges Vaccination

Evanston, IL– 11/13/2008- Five confirmed cases of Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, have been confirmed by health officials in North Evanston. The five confirmed cases of Whooping Cough have all affected children and two more cases are suspected.
“We recommend that adolescents especially get booster shots, as well as mothers that have just given birth,” said Dr. Stephen Schrantz, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, earlier today on an interview with a local news channel. “[They can get] a booster shot for Pertussis so that they can prevent this disease from occurring in the young children who are the most vulnerable.”

Pertussis is a highly infectious disease that is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Although it typically affects young children, adults and adolescents can carry the bacteria and spread the disease. “We are urging that adolescents, women who just gave birth or are thinking about becoming pregnant, and those who are in contact with these populations to be vaccinated,” said Fran Lessans, CEO of Passport Health, the largest provider of travel medical services and vaccinations in the United States. “There have been five confirmed cases so this is officially an outbreak.”

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The Whooping Cough kills close to 300,000 humans every year. It is transmitted by direct contact with airborne discharges from infected persons. Most fatalities occur in the new born population and infants.

“Patients with respiratory Pertussis require hospitalization, immediate treatment with Pertussis antitoxin, appropriate antibiotics, and supportive care,” added Lessans. “There is a very effective vaccination against Pertussis and it also protects you against Diphtheria and Tetanus.”

Symptoms usually appear 5 to 10 days following exposure and can last up to 21 days. The cough has a distinctive "whooping" sound in children and it may progress to vomiting. Sufferers may first experience cold-like symptoms followed by a very pronounced cough that can last for many weeks.

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Most will recover completely, but some complications can be severe in high-risk groups, especially infants under one year and children who have not been fully immunized against the disease. Dr. Schrantz added that the vaccine does reduce the severity of the disease but the immunity does wane over time.
“The CDC, over the last couple years since they’ve noticed that more and more outbreaks have occurred, [has] recommended that people--adults and young adolescents--get booster shots to bring up their immunity,” concluded Schrantz.
Passport Health has 166 offices nationwide including clinics in Chicago, Hoffman States, Gurnee, Moline, and Vernon Hills. For more information visit www.passporthealthusa.com/chicago or call 888-499-(PASS)

Click here to learn more about Whooping Cough.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Travel, Faith, Volunteering & Good Health Converge

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Baltimore, MD – 11/10/2008- The first annual World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) Expo took place in Orlando, FL last week. The WRTA announced that 2009 will officially be the “Year of Faith Tourism”, with a three-fold goal of: highlighting the new era of Faith Tourism; increasing awareness of the personal and communal benefits of faith tourism; and, contributing to the global economy.

“We are part of something historic,” announced Fran Lessans, CEO of Passport Health and a panelist at the exposition. “We believe in the good that humans can do around the world. That is why we want to make sure that all faith travelers are properly immunized and educated before they leave.”


Passport Health’s Travel Medicine Specialists, who come on-site, administer and prescribe vaccinations and medications recommended by the CDC, WHO, and other world surveillance organizations that monitor outbreaks and other health hazards that affect travelers when they arrive at their destination. Services include a full range of immunizations, travel health information, protective vaccines for a healthy lifestyle, and on-site immunizations for groups and organizations, including flu clinics.

“Passport Health already sees hundreds of missionaries and volunteers. Being at the expo allowed us to inform attendees about our services and the importance of good health and up-to-date vaccinations,” added Lessans.
“Religious tour operators, volunteer vacation providers, churches, mission coordinators and Passport Health are working together to provide the best service possible to those who want to travel to help or to see first-hand where their faith began. We are honored to be a part of this organization.” Full Story

Click here for more information about how Passport Health can help you with your religious travel.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

At Risk Teens, GET YOUR FLU SHOT!

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TUESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Too few American adolescents with asthma and other high-risk illnesses are getting flu shots, a new study finds.

In children and adolescents with high-risk conditions, flu can lead to severe illness, hospitalization and even death.

Influenza vaccination has been recommended for adolescents with high-risk conditions for well over a decade," study author Mari Nakamura, a clinical fellow in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston, said in a Harvard Medical School news release.

Nakamura and colleagues concluded that both parents and health-care providers must be part of any intervention strategy designed to boost flu vaccination rates among high-risk adolescents. For example, letters to parents and electronic reminders to health-care providers have been shown to help improve vaccination rates.

Click here for more information about flu shots.

Thank you to CNN.com and Health Day for this information.