The 5th of February should have been a day of great merriment in the McCaffery household. Dana McCaffery would have turned three. Her older siblings James and Aislinn would have made a huge fuss over their baby sister. There would have been a party with a birthday cake. Friends would have come over with presents. Maybe playmates from Dana’s creche would have been invited. And yet, none of this happened. Why?
Just 32 days after she was born, Dana McCaffery died from a Pertussis infection.
Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, is a killer of babies. In 2010, it killed 10 in California. Older children and adults are unlikely to die from it, but even then it is a serious illness. In some places it is known as the 100 days cough. Coughing caused by Pertussis can cause haemorrhages, rib fractures, hernias, and even artery dissection.
Antibiotics are largely ineffective against Pertussis but are used to prevent secondary infections. Vaccination is the preferred method of prevention and control. However, immunity to Pertussis wanes. This holds true even if the person was infected with Pertussis. It may wane in as little as three to six years. Because of this, adults are advised to get boosters to prevent speading Pertussis to children.
There is a Facebook event upcoming. The 22nd February is a memorial day for victims of Pertussis. In support of this day, I decided to get a booster shot. On Saturday I went to Baker Street Pharmacy in Edenglen and booked one. Today I went in. I was prepared to pay for it but the Nursing Sister told me to check if Discovery Health (my Medical Aid) would pay for it. I doubted that they would, but to my pleasant surprise they did. Thanks Discovery! I asked the pharmacy staff to photograph me as proof that I’d had it, and here is the photo.
This post is in memory of: