Bronchiolar plugging in neonate with pertussis pneumonia.

Bronchiolar plugging in neonate with pertussis pneumonia.

Copyright American Academy of Pediatrics

Authorities have sent out warning letters as the number of cases of whooping cough almost doubled in Multnomah County over the last year.

The county just confirmed one case of pertussis at Grant High School in Northeast Portland.

Deputy health officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said they’ve sent warning letters to about 10 schools.

“The local health department likes to notify school communities because pertussis can be very contagious in schools – and it’s just a great reminder for households to make sure that everybody’s up to date on their vaccines,” said Vines.

Multnomah County has seen 61 cases of whooping cough so far this year, compared with 35 cases at the same time in 2018.

Oregon’s total was higher at this point last year, largely because of an outbreak in Lane County of 219 cases a year ago.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a routine childhood vaccination, but it wears off. A booster shot is recommended for teens, adults and especially pregnant women. Infants are the most likely to suffer serious consequences from the disease.

Symptoms include a severe, violent cough that isn’t accompanied by a fever.

When a case is diagnosed, antibiotics can shorten the illness and make it less infectious. Sufferers are asked to remain at home for about five days.