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Lane County Public Health declares community-wide pertussis outbreak | Local

Local health professionals urge public to be aware of increasing cases of whooping cough

EUGENE, Ore. – Lane County public health officials on Wednesday declared a community-wide outbreak of whooping cough, an illness more commonly known as “whooping cough,” following an increase in cases over the last week, according to county officials.

Public health officials said May 15 that over the past seven days, the number of presumptive and confirmed cases has doubled, with the total number of cases at 40 and counting still awaiting lab results. Some cases are linked, but sporadic cases scattered throughout the community suggest the disease has spread in the community, public health officials said. The county also said that statewide, cases have increased sharply in 2024 with a total of 120 cases reported so far, compared to 17 cases during the same period in 2023.

“We are seeing a number of cases in very young children and at-risk populations,” said Dr. Lisandra Guzman, deputy health officer at LCPH. “Their health depends on our actions, so it’s time to do everything we can to protect them. »

Dr. Luedtke

Dr. Luedtke said whooping cough is not an infectious disease that is easy to combat when it is inside a person’s body.

Dr. Patrick Luedtke is responsible for public health. Luedtke said what makes whooping cough so deadly for young children are the toxins that cause throat flare-ups as a defense mechanism.

“The toxin makes them cough, the infection itself causes inflammation, so what your body does with the inflammation is it sends mucus and swelling there,” Luedtke said. “Because the airways are so small, they eventually close.”

County public health officials recommend that individuals get tested for whooping cough when symptoms first appear, stay current on their vaccinations and practice good respiratory hygiene. These recommendations are especially important for pregnant women and those in close contact with young children, county officials said. Health officials said the disease is highly contagious and can spread through the air when people cough or sneeze, usually starting with mild upper respiratory symptoms that can sometimes mimic seasonal allergies, the common cold or the flu. . In addition to prolonged coughing fits, a characteristic “scream” sound is often heard when inhaled with potential complications, when left untreated, ranging from pneumonia and dehydration to seizures and brain damage , county health officials said. Lane County public health officials recommend that parents call 911 if they or their child has trouble breathing or turns blue or purple.

Stop the spread

Whooping cough is easily transmitted by coughing and sneezing, hence the importance of covering yourself.

Preventative hygiene measures include covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. and to stay home when sick, the county said. Public health officials said those diagnosed should adhere to prescribed antibiotics and self-isolate until they are no longer contagious.

While those who have not yet contracted whooping cough should receive booster shots to prevent further spread. Luedtke said whooping cough requires repeated vaccinations over a person’s life, compared to other illnesses.

“Immunity decays over time, that’s what happens because it’s a resistant bacteria and with waning immunity it’s an ongoing challenge,” Luedtke said.

More information can be found on the county website.

News Source : www.kezi.com
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