Whooping cough at Marshall

Whooping cough at Marshall

A case of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, has been reported at Marshall Middle School. This contagious disease causes severe coughing.

Most children have received vaccines against pertussis, but no vaccine is 100 percent protective. Children who have been immunized can become ill with pertussis but the symptoms are usually milder. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Pertussis is spread through the air when an ill person coughs or sneezes. Infants and young children are at highest risk for complications. They will most often have cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, slight fever and occasional cough.  The cough then becomes worse, turning into coughing spasms that may be followed by a crowing (whooping) sound when breathing in, gagging or vomiting, choking or turning blue.

In older children and adults, pertussis symptoms include coughing that may be accompanied by gagging, vomiting and mucus production. Coughing symptoms may continue for two or more weeks. These attacks may worsen at night. Between coughing attacks, the person may feel well and have no symptoms.

If your child starts to show symptoms of pertussis:
1. Notify your doctor’s office that your child may have been exposed to someone ill with pertussis.
2. Notify the school if your doctor suspects your child is ill with pertussis. Sick children should stay home until completion of five days of antibiotic therapy.

Contact the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Immunization Branch for more information about pertussis, (619) 692-8661.

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