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Pertussis cases on the rise in Deschutes County


Deschutes County Health Services has identified over 20 cases of pertussis in the community since the start of the year, after a 2014 that brought the highest count in 20 years, officials said Tuesday.

All of the cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been investigated by Health Services Communicable Disease staff and close contacts have been notified.

Last year, 60 cases of pertussis were reported in Deschutes County. This represented the highest number of annual cases reported in the last two decades, the department said.

While everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated against this disease, newborn babies who are too young to be vaccinated are at highest risk for severe disease.

That’s why it’s especially important that pregnant women get vaccinated during each pregnancy to best protect their newborn. It is also critical that everyone else who comes in contact with babies are fully immunized.

“The best defense against pertussis is a well immunized community,” Tuesday’s statement said.

Pertussis vaccines are recommended for people of all ages. DTaP and Tdap vaccines are readily available through local health care providers, as well as most pharmacies,for people 11 and older.

Deschutes County Health Services also offers vaccinations, please call (541) 322-7400 to make an appointment.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is transmitted person to person through droplets from a cough or sneeze.

Illness begins as a mild upper respiratory infection and resembles a common cold (sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, mild cough).

Within two weeks, however, the cough becomes more severe and is characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs, followed by a crowing of high-pitched whooping sound and is sometimes followed by vomiting. These episodes may recur for one-to-two months.

For more information about pertussis, please visit

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