Source: NPR Online
By: Greenhalgh, Jane
So far this year, there have been 338 confirmed cases of pertussis in Oregon, triple the number from the same period in 2011. This pales in comparison to the 2,092 cases reported in Washington State as of June 2, but health officials are working hard to curtail the spread of the disease. Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of the Oregon immunization program, says people who are vaccinated against pertussis are less likely to fall ill, even though the booster is not 100 percent effective. Because pertussis is highly contagious and spreads quickly, Cieslak emphases the importance of vaccination. “One case in a susceptible group of people will cause many, many more cases,” he says. Cieslak also notes that even if people do not know they are infected, they can still help prevent the spread of the disease by covering coughs and washing their hands.