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Whooping cough on the rise in Sonoma County

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The Sonoma County Public Health Department has recently released a situational update stating that "pertussis cases continue to increase across the state and within Sonoma County." Dr. Renee Armstrong, a family medicine doctor at Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods in Santa Rosa told the Examiner today that "those with chronic lung conditions and babies are at the greatest risk of complications. The most vulnerable are infants less than 6 months old or who have not been immunized."

Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Dr. Armstrong states "whooping cough (Pertussis) has been on the rise again in our area for about 2 months. It's spread in the same way as any other respiratory illness (coughing, hand to mouth, close contact). The time between exposure to symptoms is usually 2-14 days. Most people suffer from initial fever, mild nasal symptoms and prolonged cough. Those with chronic lung conditions and babies are at the greatest risk of complications. The most vulnerable are infants less than 6 months old or who have not been immunized. Hand washing helps." Symptoms can last up to 12 weeks and be complicated by pneumonia.

The Sonoma County cases of 2014 have been primarily children 10-17 years old with many outbreaks in schools. According to the public health department both vaccinated and unvaccinated children are reporting symptoms, with a majority of them being students participating in extracurricular team activities.

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