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Important Notice regarding Whooping Cough
Important Notice regarding Whooping Cough
Wesley Koehler
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

We were notified yesterday, 3/10/20, that one of our junior high students has been diagnosed with Whooping Cough (pertussis).  The student had not been feeling good and went to see their doctor on March 3rd.  The doctor prescribed antibiotics, did a blood test and the student stayed home from school for 3 days.  The doctor notified the family on the 10th about the positive test for Whooping Cough. The student has been on antibiotics since March 3rd and has been cleared to return to school.  The period of exposure is February 24 – March 10.  Our concern is that the student was attending school before the actual diagnosis was made.  We have been in contact with the Morgan County Health Department.  Their advice is to monitor all sick students and check their symptoms.  We have pulled an informational sheet from the IL Department of Public Health and posted it below.  If you begin to see any of the symptoms, please contact your doctor and keep your student home until they can be seen.  To our advantage, we started extra safety precautions last week due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Illinois.  We continue to sanitize desks, tables, doorknobs, water fountains and handrails on a daily basis.  We will keep you updated if any further information comes to us. 

Dr. Simonson, Principal Waggener, Principal Willman


From the IL Department of Public Health:

Pertussis – Whooping Cough

What is pertussis?

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is caused by a bacterium (germ), Bordetella pertussis, that lives in the mouth, nose and throat. The germ is highly contagious and is easily spread from person-to-person.

How is pertussis spread?

The bacteria are shed in discharges from the nose and throat and spread to others through coughing and sneezing. An infected person is contagious from just before onset of symptoms until up to three weeks after symptoms start. Treatment with appropriate antibiotics shortens the contagious period to about five days.

Who is susceptible to contracting pertussis?

Despite the effectiveness of vaccination, pertussis continues to occur in the United States among all age groups. Anyone who has not had pertussis previously or who has not received the pertussis vaccine can get the disease. Immunity following disease or vaccination is not lifelong. Older children, adolescents and adults can become susceptible to pertussis five-to 10-years after their last dose of pertussis-containing vaccine. Older children and adults can carry the germ and spread it even though their cold-like symptoms may be so mild they might not seek medical care.

Since 2000, about a quarter of the cases reported have occurred in children younger than 1 year of age and this group has the highest rates for complications and death. Older children and adolescents have accounted for more than half the reported cases, and adults 20 years of age and older comprise the remaining 25 percent of reported cases.

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

Symptoms usually appear five-to 10-days after exposure, but can take as long as 21 days. The first symptoms are similar to those of a common cold - a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and a mild, occasional cough. The cough gradually becomes severe and, after one to two weeks, the patient has spasmodic bursts of numerous, rapid coughs. The characteristic high-pitched "whoop," which is more common in children, comes from breathing in after a coughing episode. During such an attack, the patient may turn blue, vomit and become exhausted. Between coughing attacks, the patient usually appears normal.

Coughing attacks occur more frequently at night. The attacks increase in frequency for a couple of weeks, remain at the same level for two-to three-weeks, and then gradually decrease. Coughing may last as long as 100 days. Cough medicines usually do not help eliminate this cough. Recovery is gradual, but coughing episodes can recur for months after the onset of pertussis.

Can there be complications?

Although most people recover, complications of pertussis can be severe. It can be a critical illness in children younger than 1 year of age, especially in premature babies or those with lung disease. Nationally, there were 27 deaths reported among infants with pertussis in 2004. Less serious complications include ear infections, loss of appetite and dehydration. Although infrequent, complications affecting the brain, such as convulsions and inflammation, may occur, especially in infants, and can have long-term effects or cause death.

How is pertussis treated?

Pertussis is usually treated with a multi-day course of appropriate antibiotics, such as azythromycin, erythromycin or clarithromycin, or an acceptable alternative. Some children may need to be hospitalized. People in close contact with children or adults with pertussis usually need to be treated with antibiotics and efforts should be taken to minimize an infant’s exposure to children and adults with cough illnesses.