Washington State is currently experiencing a Pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic however, Oregon numbers remain low at this time. Here is some basic Pertussis information for you from Deschutes County Health Services the Oregon Health Authority.
Pertussis or “whooping cough”, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by a bacterium that is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person. Pertussis can occur at any age. As of May 7, 2012, there have been 169 reported Pertussis cases in Oregon. By comparison, as of May 5, there have been 1,284 cases reported in Washington.
Pertussis begins as a mild upper respiratory infection. Initially, symptoms resemble those of a common cold including sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough. Within two weeks, the cough becomes more severe and is characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs followed by a crowing or high-pitched whoop. A thick, clear mucous may discharge. These episodes may occur for one to two months, and are more frequent at night.
Infants are at greatest risk for complications and death from Pertussis. The most common way infants contract Pertussis is from a caregiver or family member. So, it is especially important for adults who are in contact with infants, to receive their Tdap vaccine.
All infants beginning at 2 months of age, should also begin getting their Dtap vaccination series to help protect them against Pertussis.
Deschutes County Health Services offers both Dtap and Tdap. Call (541) 322-7400 to schedule an appointment.