15 May Whooping Cough Epidemic
Whooping cough, or pertussis, has taken Washington State by storm this spring, with 1,284 confirmed cases to date. This number is up from 128 cases last year, and likely lower than reality, given the expense of testing to confirm verses simply treating symptoms immediately. A recent New York Times article discusses the epidemic and reasons behind it, including an easy opt-out policy for childhood immunizations. The opt-out policy led to a greater number of underimmunized students. Now, tougher regulations are being put in place in an effort to control the outbreak, including a new implementation plan for Tdap vaccine.
The new implementation plan mandates that all students in grades 6-12, as well as any school-aged children in before and/or after school care, meet the immunization requirements for their grade. New regulations mean new paperwork, and the need for a system to collect and manage the incoming records to ensure that students are protected. An outbreak at schools inevitably impacts communities, so these regulations are in an effort to protect all.
The Magnus Health SMR (student medical record) helps schools collect and manage those new and existing records in an easy, up to date, electronic system. This enables schools to track exactly who has received the necessary immunizations, who has not, and who needs a booster. In addition, SMR allows for quick and easy reporting of that data on an on-going basis, providing confidence in the collected information, and peace of mind for everyone involved.