EUGENE, Ore.-- PeaceHealth officials implemented new rules for their locations Friday, aimed at preventing a whooping cough outbreak in Lane County.
PeaceHealth says they've seen 12 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, since the start of the month. All of those patients have been under the age of 16.
Children are extremely vulnerable to pertussis, and health officials recommend that parents and caregivers be vaccinated.
"Most babies who have developed pertussis have been infected by their parents," says Dr. Lauren Herbert, a pediatrician at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.
Even those who have had whooping cough in the past are susceptible to the disease.
Below is a list of temporary guidelines in place at each PeaceHealth campus in Lane County, designed to protect the public from an outbreak:
- Any patient or visitor who arrives at facilities with cold-like symptoms will be required to wear a mask.
- They are discouraging visitation to our hospitals by children under the age of 1 because they are most at risk for severe complications of pertussis.
- Children 12 and under are not allowed to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sacred Heart at RiverBend.
Medical officials are hoping that they will be able to discontinue the measures when they see a downward trend in the outbreak.