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Seven cases of whooping cough reported
West End public health officials have confirmed seven cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in July and August.
All were in adults, according to Dr. Tom Locke, public health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties.
A highly contagious bacterial disease, pertussis can cause a violent cough. The disease can have a mild effect on adults, but can be life-threatening for infants and small children, and can cause complications for pregnant women. It is most often spread through people in close contact, spread by coughing and sneezing.
Five cases were reported in July, two in August. Locke reported all the infected have recovered.
The county department of Health and Human Services held a special Tdap vaccination clinic at the Forks Health and Human Services office Aug. 20.
During the pertussis epidemic of April 2012, 26 cases were recorded in Clallam County. Statewide, there were 3,868 cases statewide through that outbreak. Thus far, the state has seen 491 confirmed cases of pertussis in 2013.
Locke said health officials are watching for more outbreaks in the coming weeks as school begins and cooling temperatures keep people in closer contact indoors.
Health officials recommend children have five pertussis vaccines by 6 years of age. Another dose of Tdap should be given to children at ages 11-12 and is required to enter sixth grade.
Vaccinations are available through primary care providers, area pharmacies and local health departments.
For a list of frequently asked questions about whooping cough, visit the health department’s website: www.tinyurl.com/lwo7by8.