Whooping Cough Is Contagious, Dangerous And Preventable

Apr 23, 2015

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…)

Baby receiving D-TaP vaccination to protect against Pertussis.

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.