Whooping cough cases pop up at Riverdale schools

Whooping cough cases pop up at Riverdale schools »Play Video
KATU photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A health scare that could be deadly for small children is making its way across Oregon and into Multnomah County schools.

As of May 3, 156 cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, were reported in Oregon. Multnomah County health officials said this is a higher number than usual. However, they said that it is not unusual for the numbers to rise every few years.

Three cases have been reported in the Riverdale school district. A fourth and sixth grader at Riverdale Grade School and staff member at Riverdale High School have all come down with the illness. There is no known connection between the three infected people, other than that they attend the same school district.

Riverdale High School’s principal, Paula Robinson, sent out an email alerting parents.
Multnomah County health officials suggest that people get vaccinated, especially students and adults who are around young children. Babies under six months old cannot get the full protection from the vaccine. Pertussis is dangerous, possibly even deadly, for babies. Plus, the disease is highly contagious.

“There's been a lot of controversy around vaccinations,” said Sara Conte, a mother whose daughter is a fourth grader at Riverdale Grade School. “Clearly, these diseases are still out there.”

For more information on pertussis, click on this link.