Case of whooping cough reported at Atascadero Junior High
–The Atascadero Unified School District sent out letters to parents of students that attend Atascadero Junior High last Thursday warning that one case of whooping cough has been reported at the school. They released the following statement:
Dear Parent or Guardian,
There has been at least one case of pertussis (whooping cough) in your child’s school. Pertussis is a serious disease that can be passed easily from person to person. 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 is very serious for babies and can cause them to cough so much that they cannot breathe. Hundreds of babies are hospitalized each year for pertussis, and some die from it. Pertussis can cause adults or teens to have severe coughing that leads to vomiting or broken ribs. They can be hospitalized for pneumonia and miss weeks of work or school. Even worse, they can spread pertussis to babies at home or in the community.
Ways to help stop the spread of pertussis:
• 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 @ 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 5 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.
If you have any questions please call either a district school nurse at (805) 462-4300 (please see extensions below) or the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department at (805) 781-5500.