Pertussis, also known as Whooping cough, is a contagious repertory infection caused by bacteria that is spread through the repertory secretions like coughing or sneezing. Uncontrollable violent coughing that makes it incredibly hard to breathe is one of the symptoms. In this day in age the most common reason for an outbreak would be the choice made by parents to opt out of the vaccine. Vaccines in themselves can be a very controversial subject for some but the truth of the matter is that for young children and especially infants the disease is can be a fatal one.
A mother, Chelsey Charles had to live this night mare first hand when she mistook a small cough she had to be nothing serious and her new born daughter contracted Whooping cough from her. “When I first held her my whole entire life changed at that moment. Kaliah was everything I hoped for and she most even more perfect then I could of even imagined. Gazing at me with her big brown bright eyes, as I touched her thick brown hair, I couldn’t put her down she was absolutely gorgeous.” Chelsey’s doctor noticed that she had a small cough and questioned her on how long she had had it. Chelsey told her doctor it had only been happening for nearly week and wasn’t very frequent. The night at the hospital the cough had gotten a little worse but it was excused as stress and fatigue from the birth. The new family was discharged and went home feeling the way new parents often feel.
Nine days following Chelsey’s cough remained consistent but because it hadn’t worsened she had paid little attention to it. On day 10 Kaliah sneezed and like a lot of first time mothers she panicked and turned to the internet for answers. “For a while nothing seemed to catch my attention, and then I saw a site on Pertussis (whooping cough) tremendously perilous for newborn.” Out of all the symptoms she read about, both she and Kaliah only had one symptom a piece, Chelsey had the cough and Kaliah had a sneeze, “I kind of thought I was just psyching myself out.” After watching multiple videos and reading from several web pages she began to really panic and brought it up to her boyfriend, and Kaliah’s father, as well as both of their families but no one else was convinced that the new mother and child had somehow contracted the disease.
On August 3, Chelsey followed her gut feeling and walked herself and two week old Kaliah into the clinic and to them she believed she and her daughter had Pertussis. After listening to Chelsey the clinic doctor didn’t believe that the two had all the right symptoms for Pertussis. But the adamant teen mother pushed the doctor who finally complied and agreed to run the tests. A couple days later she got the call that turned her world upside down, Chelsey and Kaliah tested positive for Whooping cough. The two were given medicine and sent home to try and ward off the illness. On August 7, Kaliah was so ill that she was taken to the ER and Chelsey and Tanner were told that they would need to keep her over night because her oxygen levels were so low. But after three days inside the hospital doctors determined that they needed to install a feeding tube, because her will and strength to eat had all but gone completely away. On day five the infant was put on life support, with no other choice and it became necessary to give her a blood transfusion. The infection was aggressively seizing her blood cells.
Shortly after Kaliah was placed in an incubator, placed on pain meds and had become so puffed up she no longer could open her own eyes. The three and a half week old also suffered a few seizures; the first was in front of her helpless parents and another lasting six minutes. After several blood transfusions’, a brain scan, spinal tap and being hooked up to an ecmo machine Kaliah Dailynn Holly Jeffery was removed from life support, after doctors could do nothing more for her, and she passed away at only 27 days old.
With the outbreak in Texas and already two infants deceased it almost seems that there isn’t enough of an understanding in the general public about whooping cough. You will be able to find the whole story about Kaliah at a link bellow. It is strongly urged that you take the time to read written by, the then, 17 year old Chelsey as a tribute to her deceased daughter in the hopes that parents would read her story and learn from her own suffering and vaccinate their children to keep the same result from repeating itself.
Last month Texas recorded the highest count of Pertussis cases in 50 years. Along with Pertussis, Measles is fighting for a close second, both making a strong come back in society. Children should get their five vaccines starting at two months, or four to six months. If your child hasn’t been vaccinated but are beyond those ages then between 15 and 18 months is a good time to have it done. Certainly before they begin school is a good time to have it done at ages 4 to 6. Booster shots are recommended between 11 and 12 years of age.
According to Dr. Wilbert Mason, “the immunity is significantly less after five years and there for important to get immunized every five to 10 years.”Adults should get their vaccines as well, for close to 90 percent of the time a parent could be carrying it and not even realize that they have it.
Kaliah’s death and the deaths of all the children like her shouldn’t be taken lightly. Children’s lives shouldn’t be something to gamble with and just when you think it couldn’t happen to your sweet child, it is possible it might. We were on the verge of forgetting all about Pertussis and the very real threat that it is.
Written by KyAuna Alonzo
Read Kaliah’s whole story at this link Kaliah’s Law