Whooping Cough Outbreak Hits Klamath County

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, November 4 2013 at 4:03 PM, Updated: Mon, November 4 2013 at 5:16 PM

An outbreak of whooping cough is hitting Klamath County hard...

The first in a series of immunization clinics was held this morning.

Davis King was one of several dozen Henley Middle School students to get a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, or 'T-Dap' shot this morning.

David Waber of the Klamath County Health Department says the clinic was prompted by a local spike in cases of whooping cough...

"We've had 49 confirmed cases of pertussis in Klamath County this year, no cases last year - so we're definitely having an outbreak."

Waber adds that seventh graders not up to date on their shots will be denied entry to school on Wednesday, November 13th...

"We sent out 266 exclusion letters to Klamath County students that are in Junior High School.  So, these are the kids we're focused on."

Even though whooping cough poses its biggest threat to infants...the clinics in Klamath Falls are targeting seventh graders that may have already had the shots years ago...

"But the vaccine has worn off now."  Cautions David Waber.  "And a lot of these junior high kids, they have younger siblings, or are around infants."

Davis King says his shot didn't hurt...much...

"A little.  It stung at first, but it doesn't hurt right now."

The shots were given by O.H.S.U. nursing students from Oregon Tech.

The exclusion day in Klamath Falls is separate from a statewide 'exclusion day'...

That will take place on February 19th of next year for students and day care kids not up to date on their shots.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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