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Whooping Cough Is Contagious, Dangerous And Preventable


Whooping Cough is on the rise in Oregon. Deschutes County health officials report more than 20 cases since the first of the year. Lane County has confirmed nine.

The bacterial infection, Pertussis, is also known as whooping cough. The Chinese named it the "hundred day cough"—because of the severe spells it elicits.

(Cough sounds…)

According to the World Health Organization, 195,000 children die from the disease each year. Whooping cough is easily spread through coughs and sneezes.

Jason Davis is with Lane County Public Health. He says the illness has seen a "Disneyland Affect." It's appearing in high density areas.

Davis: "We are a community of travelers. We have a lot of travelers who come into our community. We have people who are constantly going up and down the I-5 corridor."

Davis says all the cases reported so far have been babies and young children. The most common scenario for the spread of whooping cough is when an adult passes it to an unvaccinated child. That rankles public health officials-- because Pertussis is preventable.

The vaccination, D-TaP, is recommended for children under 11. Adolescence and adults need a booster every ten years. 

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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