NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon Urges You to Sound Off About Pertussis and Raise Awareness of the Disease by Casting Online Vote

Public Votes Needed to Select Winner Among Top Three Song Contest Finalists

Oct 01, 2010, 16:00 ET from Sanofi Pasteur from ,March of Dimes

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. and SWIFTWATER, Pa., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Champion and spokesperson for the Sounds of Pertussis Campaign, is shifting the fight against pertussis into high gear and asking adults to go online and vote for their favorite entry in the Sound Off About Pertussis™ song contest at With cases of pertussis on the rise in the United States and some states reporting epidemic rates, Gordon is encouraging everyone, particularly new parents, to learn more about this highly contagious disease that can be fatal to babies.

Launched Aug. 5, 2010 at New York City's Pertussis Awareness Day, the Sound Off About Pertussis song contest generated fun and creative video submissions from across the country. Sounds of Pertussis Campaign judges viewed the entries and selected the top three finalists who tapped into their musical side to help educate others about pertussis and inspire change.

"We're excited about the song contest enthusiasm and participation so far and encourage everyone to log onto the contest website to watch the top finalists and vote for their favorite song," Gordon said. "People often don't realize that babies most likely catch pertussis, which is commonly known as whooping cough, from a family member. The finalist videos all share critical information about pertussis, and we hope everyone logs on to watch and vote."

The following finalists are currently competing for the grand prize and a trip to the Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR race weekend in November. The winner will also get the opportunity to perform the winning song for a live audience on the Performance Racing Network "Up to Speed" stage in Fort Worth, Texas along with VIP access to the race and an opportunity to meet Gordon.

  • Adam Wickam and Scott Walton from Gahanna, Ohio and Bellefontaine, Ohio.
  • Maria Bennett from Loxahatchee, Fla.
  • Joshua Redmond from Claremore, Okla.

"Our finalists have harnessed the power of music to inform others in a fun and entertaining way about how we all can help prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease. With a resurgence of pertussis nationwide, now is the time for education, awareness and action," continued Gordon.

About Sound Off About Pertussis

The Sound Off About Pertussis contest is part of the Sounds of Pertussis national public awareness campaign, which encourages parents to help protect themselves and their babies from pertussis by getting vaccinated with an adult Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) booster, which may reduce their risk of getting the disease and spreading it to their babies. The contest challenged adults to write and perform the most creative and informative song about pertussis, incorporating the words "whooping cough" and/or "pertussis" into the lyrics.

The contest is open for public voting until Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. The grand prize winner will be announced on Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. For more information, visit

About Pertussis

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious, vaccine preventable disease that can last for weeks. The disease is usually milder in adults and adolescents, but can be potentially fatal in infants. Infants and young children with pertussis will often experience severe coughing that is followed by a whooping sound as they gasp for breath and, sometimes vomiting following a coughing episode.(1)

Pertussis is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, which are found in the mouth, nose and throat of the person with the disease. It is spread through contact with respiratory droplets generated when that person coughs or sneezes.(2)

Reported cases of pertussis increased from a record low of 1,010 in 1976 to more than 25,000 in 2005.(2) The annual number of pertussis cases reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recent years is dramatically higher than in the past. In fact, in the last decade (2000-2009), the total number of pertussis cases reported to the CDC was approximately 150 percent higher than the total number of cases reported during the 1990s.

California declared a pertussis epidemic in June 2010. As of Sept. 14, 2010 more than 4,000 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of pertussis have been reported statewide.   Moreover, nine infants in California have died from pertussis so far this year, compared to just three in all of 2009.(5,6)  

For additional information about pertussis and immunization, and the relationship between Sanofi Pasteur and March of Dimes, please visit March of Dimes does not endorse specific products or brands.

About the Sounds of Pertussis

Sanofi Pasteur and March of Dimes are working together on the Sounds of Pertussis Campaign to help protect the health and wellness of adults and infants. The mission is to raise awareness about pertussis and to let parents and others in close contact with infants know how important it is to get vaccinated with an adult Tdap vaccine.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes is the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and through its premier event, March for Babies, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit or

About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY). For more information, please visit:

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis Group, provided more than 1.6 billion doses of vaccine in 2009, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: or

(1)  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Disease Information: Pertussis. US Dept of Health and Human Services 2005. Accessed March 12, 2010.

(2)  Kretsinger K, Broder KR, Cortese MM et al. Preventing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis among adults: use of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and recommendation of ACIP, supported by the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), for use of Tdap among health-care personnel. MMWR. 2006;55(RR-17):1-37. Accessed August 3, 2010.

(3)  McNabb SJN, Jajosky RA, Hall-Baker PA et al. Summary of notifiable diseases --- United States, 2005. MMWR. 2007;54(53):1-92. Accessed March 12, 2010.

(4)  McNabb SJN, Jajosky RA, Hall-Baker PA et al. Summary of notifiable diseases--United States, 2006. MMWR. 2008;55(53):1-92. Accessed March 12, 2010.

(5)  Hennessy-Fiske, M. California declares whooping cough epidemic. Los Angeles Times. Available at:,0,5232560.story. Accessed July 20, 2010.

(6)  California Department of Health Pertussis Summary Report. Available at: Accessed September 20, 2010.

SOURCE Sanofi Pasteur; March of Dimes