The Pertussis Virus, commonly known as Whooping Cough is spreading rapidly throughout California. Now it's hitting even closer to home since one Tehama County teenager from Corning High School has been diagnosed with it. "As a parent it is frightening. I've only heard stories from my mom and my grandma of Whooping Cough" said Tehama County parent Jennifer Sudders. Andrew Farrell adds that "It's just another thing to worry about you know, as a parent".
Tehama County Public Health is doing its part to prevent the virus from spreading to more residents, and more importantly, more children. Free vaccination clinics are being offered at many schools such as Corning High School. In addition clinics are scheduled to be held at schools in Los Molinos, Red Bluff, and Gerber. "It is beneficial having a free clinic, it just kind of takes the stress off" Sudders said.
And while these clinics have been set up to prevent Whooping Cough from spreading further, county health officials say California is not out of the woods yet. Concern about the virus is high, a seven fold increase has been seen from this time last year. According to Tehama County Public Health Director Sydnie Wilby, there have been more than 3,000 confirmed cases of Whooping Cough in California. That's up from 450 cases seen last year. Eight of those resulted in infants dying from the virus. "It's kind of scary, especially cause kids are busy and dirty and you never know where the germs are gonna creep up" Sudders explained.
Wilby says the the virus is most dangerous for infants, and young adults, but anyone is capable of carrying the virus. Those who work around children should get a booster shot.