MEDFORD, Ore. -- North Medford High School parents got an email from Jackson County Health officials confirming there is one case of Pertussis. Students and Faculty may have been in contact with the infected person between Monday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 8.
Public Health Officer Dr. Jim Shames said now is the time to make sure kids have their vaccinations.
"The Pertussis vaccine is an imperfect vaccine, its protection wanes over time, but you certainly want to be sure that your child is up to date," Shames said.
He said infected people will not even notice they have it since it starts out as a common cold.
"You might be exposed to Pertussis, but it could be a week to three weeks before you would have symptoms and those symptoms initially look just like a cold, runny nose, you don't feel so good," Shames said.
He said that common cold feeling will go away, but not long after that the infected person will start getting a cough that doesn't seem to go away and causes trouble breathing.
Shames said most young, robust children can handle the disease, but there are certain groups of people that really cannot afford to catch it.
"Newborn babies, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised, the very young the very old, the very sick," Shames said.
Medford parent Tasha Bolt said she is not very concerned about her younger kids catching the disease since they are vaccinated.
"Where I would be concerned is for anyone maybe with multiple students depending on where the confirmed case is, if it's in another school or around young kids because a lot of times it's the younger kids who are together," Bolt said.
According to the Medford School District's website, more than 95 percent of students got their DTap/TDap vaccines as of this October.
Jackson County Public Health officials said regardless of vaccination status, children with Pertussis symptoms must stay home from school until they are treated and no longer contagious.
Parents should contact their health-care provider for a Pertussis test and for possible treatment. It treatment is recommended, it takes five days of antibiotics before the child is no longer contagious and can go back to school.
Vaccines are available at Jackson County Health and Human Services at 140 S. Holly Street in Medford, Monday - Friday from 8:30-4:00 pm daily. No appointment is necessary.
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