A confirmed case of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, was reported at the Mill Pond School, the school district reported last week. More information on pertussis can be found here.
Superintendent Dr. Sandra Brower notified the community by letter on Dec. 14:
Today a confirmed case of pertussis (whooping cough) was reported to the Mill Pond School. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which become much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughing fits followed by a whooping noise; however, older children, adults and very young infants may develop symptoms differently. There is generally only a slight fever. People with pertussis may have a series of severe coughing fits followed immediately by vomiting turning blue, or difficulty catching breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough.
Pertussis is usually diagnosed by a doctor based on history of symptoms, a physical examination and supporting laboratory tests,” she said in the letter. “If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a persistent cough, please contact your physician.
Please consider the following New Jersey Department of Health Senior Services recommendations:
- Infants under one year old, especially those under six months are most likely to have severe symptoms if they develop pertussis. When possible, young infants should be kept away from people with a cough. Infants with any coughing illness should be seen promptly by their doctor.
- Pertussis vaccine was formally given to children under seven years old. Most adolescents receive booster shots at 11 years old as per school law. The law for New Jersey says that any child who entered sixth grade after Sept. 1, 2008, and born after Jan. 1, 1997 should have Tdap. The vaccine is available for anyone over seven years of age. If you have children who have not been completely immunized against pertussis (particularly infants under one year), we recommend you now talk to your child’s doctor about the benefits of vaccination.
- If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough that last more than 10 days, talk to your child’s doctor immediately. Tell the doctor that a confirmed case of pertussis has been identified at your child’s school.
- Do not send your child to school if s/he has any signs or symptoms of pertussis.
Additional information on pertussis can be reviewed on the Lacey Township School District website at www.laceyschools.org. If you have any additional questions, please contact the school nurse.
Sandra D. Brower, Ed.D.