Members of the medical team at Central Oregon Pediatric Associates are bracing for a busy season for whooping cough, or pertussis.
They base that prediction on the fact that national cases are up year over year and there's a huge outbreak in the northwest, especially Washington State. There have also been more cases in the Portland area and surrounding counties.
So far in Deschutes County, health officials haven't seen alarming numbers yet.
Health Department spokesperson Heather Kaisner says whooping cough, or pertussis, can be fatal, so its important to get vaccinated to prevent it. If you do think you may have it she urges you to see a doctor, and avoid passing it to other people, especially infants.
"IF YOU HAVE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERTUSSIS OR YOUR CHILD- WHICH IS THAT CONSTANT COUGH YOU CANT' GET RID OF - FEVER- ACHES - THOSE KINDS OF THINGS- GO TO YOUR DOCTOR AND YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO A TEST TO SEE IF YOU HAVE PERTUSSIS...AND THEN ITS IMPORTANT TO STAY AWAY FROM OTHERS ESPECAILLY INFANTS SINCE THEY DO HAVE THE HIGHEST MORTALITY RATE.... IS UNDER 3 MONTHS OF AGE."
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control is seeing double the number of cases compared to last year and a total number rising to levels not seen since 1959. Kaisner spoke to 1110 KBND radio news Thursday morning.
"it is increasing obviously across the nation - in oregon they are seeing more cases this year - especially in portland area- so far in deschutes county we have not seen a big increase in pertussis yet- i say that (yet) because there is a concern it could come this way."
The CDC is currently studying the outbreak in Washington State to try to determine what is causing so many people to come down with it. Health officials say fewer people are getting vaccines and that could play into the outbreak. There are also reports that a recent vaccine wasn't as effective as ones used in the past.