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Pertussis wanes on Whidbey

The recent outbreak of whooping cough appears to be subsiding on Whidbey Island, so it’s safe for kids to gather in large groups again.

A total of 74 cases of the disease, also known as pertussis, have been documented since the onset of the outbreak in late April of this year, said Roger Case, Island County Health Officer, this week.

Case said the normal incidence for Island County has been two to four cases per year over the past six years. The preponderance of the cases this year have come from the Coupeville and South Whidbey areas.

The health officer is withdrawing his recommendation for unimmunized or under-immunized children to avoid attending group activities where they may be exposed to active cases of the highly contagious disease.

“The directors of such activities are advised to continue to observe participants for coughs, and to recommend parents of identified children with coughs to have them examined by their physician before permitting continued attendance,” Case said in a news release.

“The back-to-school activities are coming up, and an opportune time to make sure all children are current on their immunizations, as is required by school regulations,” Case added.

“Please continue to be aware of the persistent cough, especially among the adults who may not experience feeling particularly ill, but who may unknowingly be spreading this endemic disease among the susceptible.”

Finally, as with any disease, cover your cough, wash your hands, and stay home if you are ill.

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