Announcements > Important Announcement Regarding Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
We have been notified that two students and one staff member at Souderton Area High School were diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed pertussis (whooping cough). Although these cases have been confined to high school students, we felt it was important to notify the entire school community as pertussis,(whooping cough) season has begun. Below is some important information about pertussis.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can be serious in children up to seven years of age and in those who are not completely immunized against the disease. Bacteria are spread by inhaling infected droplets of a coughing or sneezing child or by direct contact with discharges from a running nose. Household members and close contacts that have been exposed to the infected child are at increased risk.
The Montgomery County Health Department, in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is making the following recommendations:
1) Parents should review each child’s health record to determine the vaccination status of the child.
2) Children should be observed over the next two weeks for any symptoms such as a running nose, and/or sudden, uncontrollable bursts or spells of coughing that persist and sometimes cause vomiting. These symptoms should be reported immediately to your pediatrician.
3) If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough, the child should be evaluated by his/her pediatrician. Evaluation should include a nasopharyngeal culture for pertussis.
4) Children with pertussis, if their medical condition allows, may return to school and activities five (5) days after starting appropriate antibiotics and must continue taking the antibiotics until completed.
5) All household members and close contacts of a pertussis case should receive preventative antibiotics regardless of their age or vaccination status.
Here are some helpful reminders regarding pertussis-containing vaccine for various age groups:
1) If your child is under the age of seven (7) years and has not received the full recommended vaccination series (DTaP at 2, 4 and 6 months, first booster at 15 –18 months and second booster at 4 – 6 years), please contact your pediatrician and complete the vaccination schedule.
2) Children ages seven (7) to ten (10) who have not received the full recommended vaccination series should receive a dose of Tdap at the earliest opportunity.
3) Persons between the ages of 11 and 64 who have not received a previous dose of Tdap vaccine should receive a single dose. No minimum interval since a previous dose of Td needs to be observed.
4) Persons aged 65 and older may also receive a single dose of Tdap vaccine, as directed by their primary care physician.
Finally, infants under one year are most likely to experience severe illness if they develop pertussis. When possible, young infants should be kept away from people with a cough. Infants with any coughing illness should be promptly evaluated by their pediatrician.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call Montgomery County Health Department, the Division of Communicable Disease Control at 610-278-5117.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Frederick C. Johnson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools