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Deschutes County pertussis cases on rise


Since the start of the year, Deschutes County Health Services has identified 6 confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the community, the agency reported Friday.

All cases have been investigated by Health Services Communicable Disease staff and close contacts have been notified. There is no clear link between many of the cases, and they are dispersed throughout the community, so health officials said they are prepared to receive more reports of pertussis.

The best defense against pertussis is a well immunized community. 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.

The vaccine is available through local health care providers as well as most pharmacies for those 11 years and older. Deschutes County Health Services – Bend Clinic also offers a walk-in Tdap vaccine clinic every Thursday from 4-5pm for people who have OHP or are uninsured. The cost is $21.96.

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 and medically fragile children are at the highest risk of hospitalization and death from this disease, so it is especially important for those who are in contact with these groups to receive their DtaP vaccine series or Tdap vaccine.

It is also important for women who are pregnant to receive their Tdap vaccine given the higher rates of illness & hospitalization among babies <2 months of age.

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.

For more information about pertussis ,visit: . For more information about the Deschutes County Tdap walk-in clinic call: 541-322-7400 .

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