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Whooping cough cases spread to Douglas County

There are two confirmed cases, with the people immediately around those infected likely having contracted it as well.

Posted: May. 24, 2018 5:15 PM
Updated: May. 24, 2018 6:29 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- As the number of whooping cough cases starts to level off in Lane County, cases are now starting to pop up in Douglas County.

Health officials are now looking into at least six cases of pertussis in the Roseburg area.

Of those cases, the two that are confirmed are children.

The other possible cases are their parents and siblings.

“We do see outbreaks of pertussis generally in the spring and early summer time. We’ve had a big outbreak up in Lane County,” said Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer, a Douglas County Public Health Official.

At this point there are nearly 100 reported cases in the Eugene-Springfield area.

Because of this large outbreak, Dannenhoffer said it’s likely that people that visit Eugene could catch pertussis.

Dannenhoffer says, “It’s spread through several schools out there. And just because people go to Eugene to shop or go out to eat, there are going to be cases that come down to Douglas County.” 

This could be very dangerous to infants or the elderly who tend to be the most prone to catching whooping cough.

“It gets worse and worse after the second week, and it continues for as much as three or four months," Dannenhoffer said. "And this cough is really a racking cough. We know babies will sometimes get so exhausted from coughing that they can’t eat and adults will sometimes cough so hard that they’ll actually break ribs.” 

So, Dannenhoffer recommends that everyone get the vaccine.

He said not only will it help create herd immunity and prevent another large outbreak, but it has other benefits, too.

“Pertussis is always around, so we need to make sure that we have high levels of immunization," Dannenhoffer said. "So all of us, even adults, should get a pertussis vaccination. You can get it at almost any drug store, the TDAP vaccination. It doesn’t hurt very much. It will also give you protection against tetanus.” 

If you have a runny nose, nasal congestion, red, watery eyes, a mild fever and a cough, Dannenhoffer said you should go to your doctor to get the antibiotic treatment.

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