Whooping cough cases continue to spread in Lane County

Monroe Middle School is the latest in a list of schools to have confirmed outbreaks of whooping cough.

Posted: May 17, 2018 7:05 PM
Updated: May 17, 2018 7:16 PM

LANE COUNTY, OR. -- Whooping cough is still spreading across Lane County, with 71 confirmed cases in our area.

We first told you about the outbreak of cases at Sheldon High School in Eugene last month.

READ MORE: Whooping cough outbreak at Sheldon High School

It's now spread to 18 schools.

Of these schools, four are seeing whooping cough outbreaks with multiple cases.

That's Sheldon, Springfield, and Thurston High Schools, as well as Monroe Middle School.

Letters were sent out on Thursday with Monroe students that will potentially be excluded from school because they aren't vaccinated.

Monroe mother Lyra Legend was given a heads-up about that letter.

She said she doesn't understand why her child is just now being excluded.

“If it’s so imperative, then why is it that we received this notice two weeks ago about the outbreak, but yet we’re just now getting this exclusion?”

Doctor Patrick Luedtke with Lane County Public health said that first letter was just to let parents know that whooping cough is being reported in the area.

The one that went out on Thursday explains to parents that cases have been confirmed in their kids’ school.

With that confirmed outbreak, health officials have to follow state laws.

“There are statutes that we must follow to exclude students from school to keep others in that school healthy," said Luedtke. "And then there are administrative rules that provide many more of the specifics.”

With these outbreaks spreading, health and school officials are encouraging parents to make sure they’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety.

"Go get vaccinated. Get yourself vaccinated and your kids," said Luedtke. "The second big thing is: those same things that your mom and your grandma told you, to have good hygiene, work for this particular bacteria and influenza and all the other ones."

If your child hasn’t been vaccinated and their school is affected by an outbreak, you will have three options:

The first option is to get your child vaccinated.

The second is for them to catch whooping cough then go through antibiotic treatment before they return to school.

The third is to keep them out of school for three weeks.

The signs and symptoms of early stages of whooping cough are runny nose, low grade fever, a mild, occasional cough, and a pause in breathing known as apnea.

If you or your child experiences these, you are asked to visit a doctor.

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