Pediatricians and Lakewood Officials Address Pertussis


whooping-coughOn Tuesday night, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Officials along with many Lakewood pediatricians and Lakewood and County Officials, participated in a program sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur who brought Dr. Irving Zoltan, a subject matter expert on Pertussis (whooping cough) and an Assistant Professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and attending physician at Children’s Hospital at Motefiore in New York, to discuss Pertussis and the issue of elevated cases of Pertussis in the Lakewood community.

Senator Robert Singer who is also the Vice-Chairperson of the Ocean County Board of Health, said, “The need for this program was recently identified in a discussion between Ocean County Health Officials and Public Health representatives from Sanofi Pasteur. These important collaborative efforts highlight the ongoing diligent work of the OCHD to work with all stakeholders in an effort to protect the health of Ocean County Residents.”

Singer added, “The program began with Dr. Zoltan providing an overview of Pertussis at the national level and then transitioned into a discussion from Ocean County Health Officials providing a local perspective. The goals of the meeting were numerous, which included:

– Provide a brief overview of the epidemiology of pertussis and Tdap vaccination recommendations to prevent transmission of pertussis disease, specifically to vulnerable infants.
– Network within the medical and public health communities to coordinate efforts to improve local immunization rates.
– Provide forum where participants can share results of current immunization and educational initiatives and identify barriers to immunization in the community.
– Strategize ways to increase pertussis (Tdap) immunization rates.
– Develop a collaborative community action plan to educate parents and new families to ensure they are vaccinated to protect their infants against disease.

Daniel E. Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator, said, “Vaccines have reduced or eliminated many infectious disease that at one time routinely killed or harmed many infants, children and adults. These viruses and bacteria still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines. These diseases come at a great cost: sick children miss school, parents lose time from work, doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, and even premature death.”

Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health, said, “As a result of this program the OCHD will continue to work with those present as an advisory group to further discuss and implement prevention strategies with the Lakewood community.”

“These strategies will include working with the faith-based community of all denominations to help get prevention messages out, healthcare providers, including Kimball Medical Center, the Center for Health, Education, Medicine and Dentistry (CHEMED), Ocean Health Initiatives (OHI), the Township of Lakewood, and both the public and private schools in Lakewood.”

Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller said, “We are working closely with the Ocean County Health Department to get the importance of vaccination messages out to the entire community. We are presently meeting with different media representatives to cover all populations in Lakewood Township.”

“After listening to Dr. Zoltan, we learned one of the best methods in preventing the transmission of Pertussis, is vaccination of infants, children and adults. We also discussed and will continue to promote the importance of handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes. This will be an ongoing effort as we work to protect over 25,000 children in Lakewood Township.”

Also in attendance were Drs. Shanik, Haimowitz, Wong, Beizem, Cohen, Indich and physicians from both the CHEMED and OHI.

Singer added that the Ocean County Board of Health is fully supportive of this continued collaboration with these professionals who serve Lakewood’s children with extreme dedication.

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