March of Dimes: Pregnant women need Pertussis vaccine

Due to substantial increases in reported pertussis cases (aka: whooping cough), an urgent call has been put out for every pregnant woman to get a Tdap immunization during every pregnancy. The number of cases has essentially tripled in the Northwest over the past several years.

The alert has been issued by the Oregon Perinatal Collaborative. The OPC, convened by March of Dimes in 2011 to eliminate early elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks, is a group of health care leaders focused on improving perinatal outcomes through collaboration and evidence-based practices.

“The disease in adults is usually mild — in fact, so mild that it is often not recognized,” said Duncan Neilson, M.D. and VP of Surgical Specialties at Legacy Health. “Unfortunately, newborns are very sensitive to this disease which can be quite severe and even fatal.”

“We are finding the vaccines in use 20 to 30 years ago for pertussis didn’t produce life-long immunity,” adds Aaron Caughey, M.D. and chair of OB/GYN department at Oregon Health and Science University. “So we’re now seeing a significant resurgence of this disease in the entire country, and especially in Oregon and Washington.”

“The best way to protect newborns is to vaccinate the mother during pregnancy — every pregnancy — especially in the last three months, with optimal timing between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation,” said Joanne Rogovoy, March of Dimes state director of program services. This will safeguard the baby until he or she is able to be vaccinated; which isn’t until two months after birth.

“It is maternal antibodies that cross the placenta and protect the newborn,” said Mark Tomlinson, M.D. and regional medical director for obstetrics, Oregon Region, for Providence Health and Services. “The amount of these antibodies steadily decreases over time to low levels. Although low levels can still protect the mother, they are much less effective at protecting the newborn.” That is why a Tdap vaccination is recommended during each pregnancy regardless of vaccination intervals.

This recommendation from the Oregon Perinatal Collaborative and March of Dimes for mom to get immunized in the last three months of each pregnancy is echoed by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Plans, Oregon Health Authority, Centers for Disease Control and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

For the latest resources and information, visit or Find out what’s going on in the Greater Oregon Chapter by visiting

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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