|9/8/2012 1:08:00 PM|
|Whooping Cough: Information and Resources for Parents and Teachers|
The Pacific Northwest, along with many other places in the United States, is currently experiencing a dramatic increase in cases of whooping cough (pertussis). Nationally, in 2012, there have been 18,000 cases of pertussis and 9 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 2012 might be the worst year for pertussis out of the last 50 years. Click here for a flier on whooping cough.
There is a vaccine for pertussis which came on the scene in 1948 and drastically decreased the cases of this highly infectious disease. Vaccination is still the single most important way to prevent pertussis.
After a person is vaccinated, the protection against pertussis lessens in about 5 to 10 years. This means that children who are 5-10 years past their last pertussis injection need to be re-vaccinated. Adults may also need to be vaccinated.
Pertussis is a highly contagious disease. A person with whooping cough can spread the disease for up to two weeks before they get sick (while the germ is establishing a foothold in the person’s body), and for about 3 weeks after the person is noticeably sick. It is spread by droplets released into the air when the infected person coughs, laughs, sings, yells, etc.
Pertussis is a restrictable disease under Oregon law and exclusion from school is managed under Oregon Regulatory Statute. Please contact your personal health provider, local health department, or the links in this article for more information regarding immunization for yourself and the students you serve.
There are a number of reasons that we are seeing more pertussis- please see the CDC website for a discussion of these reasons.
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