Manar HeadshotrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar’s (D–Bunker Hill) legislation aimed at protecting newborn infants from contracting pertussis (whooping cough) and curbing a recent surge of the respiratory infection in Illinois was signed into law on Monday. A gradual and sustained increase in pertussis has occurred in the United States and Illinois in the past several years. In 2012, health care providers reported 2,026 pertussis cases to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the entire year – and increase of nearly 500 reported cases from 2011. Only four months into 2013 and officials from IDPH have already reported approximately 110 cases of pertussis.

“With the recent increase in reported cases of whooping cough, we need to take extra precaution and utilize preventive measures to reduce the number of infants and family members with infants from contracting this sometimes fatal infection,” Manar said. “If something as simple as informing the families of a newborn child about the seriousness of whooping cough can save a life, then we ought to do it.”

•    Senate Bill 1623 requires the parents or guardians of a child in a neonatal intensive care unit – intensive care unit specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants – be informed of the significance of parents, guardians and immediate family members being immunized against pertussis (whooping cough) to reduce the chances of the disease being transmitted to the newborn child.

•    Senate Bill 1623 also requires that the parents, guardians and immediate family are informed of the locations where they can receive the appropriate vaccine.

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