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Whooping cough spike in Placer County spurs vaccination call

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Whooping cough cases in Placer County have more than tripled so far this year compared to the same period last year. With the spike in a disease that puts newborns at the greatest risk among the general population for severe illness or death, county health officials issued a recommendation today for people to keep their whooping cough vaccinations up-to-date. Pat Orme, assistant director of public health, said that because infants usually catch the disease from an infected adult or adolescent, it’s important that parents assure everyone who will be around a newborn has been vaccinated. “Parents, older siblings and grandparents are the most common source of infection for infants and these family members and caretakers may not realize this since their symptoms can be mild,” Orme said. So far this year in Placer County, there have been 20 probable or confirmed whooping-cough cases. Last year at this time, there had been six. Orme said no whooping cough-related deaths have been reported in Placer County but there have been five in the state. The disease is cyclical, with the last spike in cases in Placer County five years ago. Vaccinations can be administered through a person’s regular healthcare provider or at a Placer County immunization clinic. Fees at the county clinics are $9 for a child and $16 for adults. Roseville and Kings Beach also have drop-in immunization clinics. Auburn’s drop-in clinic is at 11584 B Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. The clinic’s phone number is (530) 889-7215. – Gus Thomson