Deschutes County Health Services has recently identified a case of Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, in a local child. This case has been investigated by Health Services Communicable Disease staff and close contacts have been given medication. There have been no further cases identified and the child is recovering.
Health Services encourages everyone 11 years and older to get Tdap vaccine and infants and children to be up to date on their DTaP vaccine series. To date, there have been 18 cases of Pertussis in Deschutes County since 2007.
Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is transmitted person to person through droplets from a cough or sneeze. Symptoms include a persistent, hacking cough severe enough to cause vomiting and even break ribs. The illness may last for up to three months or more, and may lead to pneumonia, hospitalization and missed work or school days. Infants are at the highest risk of hospitalization and death from this disease.
People with Pertussis may not be aware they have it and can spread it to others, including infants and children. Babies who have not received all of their shots for whooping cough are especially vulnerable to complications. Even adolescents and adults who don't typically come in contact with small children should be vaccinated to protect the community.
Although Washington State is experiencing a pertussis epidemic, Oregon numbers have been much lower. As of June 11, there have been 380 reported pertussis cases in Oregon, compared with 119 cases during the same timeframe in 2011. In Washington as of May 26 of this year, there have been 1,947 cases reported compared with 154 during the same period of time in 2011. It is important get vaccinated to prevent pertussis cases in Oregon from increasing to levels being experienced in Washington.
Tdap vaccine is available through many local health care providers as well as most pharmacies. It is especially important for adults who are in contact with infants to receive their Tdap vaccine. Deschutes County Health Services Department also offers Tdap vaccine for those without insurance for $15.19. Call (541) 322-7400 to schedule an appointment.
For more information about Pertussis please call (541) 322-7400 or visit http://www.deschutes.org/Health-Services/Public-Health/Communicable-Disease.aspx .