With whooping cough an epidemic in Washington, health experts are worried about the spread of the disease in Oregon. Residents are being warned not to cough around babies.
The number of whooping cough cases in Washington is 10 times what it was at this time last year. In Oregon, there are twice as many cases.
Authorities estimate that about five percent of children in the Pacific Northwest aren’t vaccinated against the disease because of the beliefs of their parents.
Authorities recommend adults be vaccinated. But the efficacy wears off, according to Dr. Paul Cieslak, the medical director of Oregon’s immunization program.
“There’s an awful lot of adults we think who get whooping cough and they don’t whoop. They just have a cough that can persist for six, eight, ten weeks. And it’s a nagging thing that never really keeps you from going to work or anything, but it makes it pretty annoying while you’re there.”
Speaking on OPB’s ‘Think Out Loud’ Cieslak says if you have a nagging cough, get it checked.
Infants can’t be inoculated until two months of age and are highly susceptible to the disease.