Whooping cough reported at Atascadero Junior High School
November 10, 2015
Atascadero Unified School District officials are warning parents about an Atascadero Junior High School student who has been diagnosed with whooping cough.
“Pertussis is a serious disease that can be passed easily from person to person,” the warning letter says. “Early symptoms of pertussis are similar to the common cold or bronchitis and may include runny nose, sneezing and low-grade fever. The infection also causes coughing”
Pertussis can lead to vomiting or broken ribs in adults and teens. The disease is is very serious for babies with hundreds being hospitalized each year, and some dying from the disease.
The school district provided the following tips to help stop the spread of whooping cough:
• The best protection against pertussis is vaccination. All family members should be immunized to protect themselves and any babies in the home who are not old enough for the full vaccine series.
• An initial vaccination series of four combination doses against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (DTaP) should begin at 2 months and be completed by 15 months of age. A fifth (booster) dose of DTaP is given before starting kindergarten.
• Children 10 years of age and older and adults through age 64, should receive a new one-time Tdap booster vaccine to prevent the spread of pertussis from older children and adults.
• If any family members are not fully immunized, please call your physician or the Public Health Department’s Paso Robles Clinic at (805) 237-3050 to schedule an appointment for DTaP or Tdap vaccine.
• If you or your child have or develop symptoms of pertussis, please stay home and contact your physician. Antibiotics can be given to shorten the period of communicability and reduce the spread of this disease. Your child may return to school once they have taken five days of an approved antibiotic.
• If you are a household member or in close contact to a person with pertussis, or if you are immune compromised, please call your physician to discuss receiving antibiotics to prevent the illness. Close contact is described as 1) sharing confined space (closed classroom) for an hour or longer or 2) direct face-to-face contact for any length of time with a symptomatic case.
• Wash your hands and cover your cough.