BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Public Health confirms a case of Pertussis - or "Whooping Cough" - was recently discovered at Summit High School, prompting warnings to parents.
Public Health Nurse Jill Johnson says Pertussis is spread by respiratory droplets, and it takes a while for symptoms to develop, "The incubation period is about 21 days. And then, once a person is treated with antibiotics for five days, then they're no longer infectious." She tells KBND News most people don't know they have Pertussis because it starts out like the common cold, followed by an increasingly persistent cough. "The cough gets worse, and it usually starts to occur in strong fits. For young kids, especially, a high-pitched 'whoop' sound can follow the cough." She adds, "It's sometimes called the 100-day cough because the cough is just really persistent and hangs on for awhile." In Deschutes County, on average, 80% of Pertussis patients are under 20 years old. And, it hits infants the hardest, "Pertussis is especially difficult on babies. about half of them need to be hospitalized if they contract it."
Johnson says the best defense is up-to-date T-Dap immunizations. While it's not 100% effective, it does seem to lessen symptoms. She also suggest staying home if you're sick, and washing hands often.
There have been four confirmed cases of Pertussis in Deschutes County so far in 2019, "Pertussis kind of ebbs and flows," says Johnson, "So some years we have more cases than other years. We average about 14 cases a year."