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Student in Fayette County school district diagnosed with whooping cough



Student in Fayette County school district diagnosed with whooping cough

Whooping cough is highly contagious disease spread through air when infected person sneezes or coughs


A first-grader in a Fayette County school district has been diagnosed with whooping cough (pertussis). Frazier School District officials sent a letter home to parents warning them that their child may have been in close contact with the student. The Pennsylvania Department of Health notified the school that the first-grader was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease. Whooping cough is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The disease begins with cold symptoms and a cough and becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs followed by a whooping noise. The Pennsylvania Department of Health strongly recommends the following: If your child is coughing, promptly contact your child's doctor. Explain to the doctor your child has been exposed to a case of pertussis and needs to be evaluated. Your child's doctor may obtain a nasopharyngeal culture to test for pertussis. In addition, if the doctor suspects pertussis, an antibiotic will be given to your child to help lower the chance of spreading the disease to others. Your child will be able to return to school after completing the first 5 days of the medication. It is very important that upon returning to school your child continues (s) taking his or her medication until completed. Even if your child is not coughing, you may need to contact your child's doctor and explain that he or she has been exposed to a case of pertussis. The doctor should give your child an antibiotic to lower his or her chance of becoming ill if he / she fits one of the following categories: • All persons with preexisting health conditions that may be exacerbated by pertussis (eg, immunocompromised, severe asthma) • Contacts who themselves have close contact with infants, pregnant women, or individuals with pre-existing health conditions that may be exacerbated by pertussis • All contacts in high risk settings that include infants or women in the third trimester of pregnancy. If your child is diagnosed with pertussis, all household members and other close contacts should also be treated with antibiotics, regardless of their age or vaccination status. Making sure that children receive all their shots on time is the best way to control pertussis in the future. In children, diphtheria, tetanus and a cellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) are only given to those under 7 years of age. Children should receive one dose of DTaP vaccine each at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and between 15 and 18 months of age. In addition, one dose is needed before starting school (on or after the fourth birthday). Check with your pediatrician to see if your child is eligible for another dose of DTaP in the accelerated schedule. If you are not sure your child is properly immunized, promptly contact his or her doctor. • The combination of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) is recommended for children ages 7 through 10 (if not fully vaccinated) and adolescents and adults as a one-time dose. It is also recommended for pregnant women during each pregnancy to protect the newborn infant. • Anyone eligible for Tdap may receive it regardless of the interval since the most recent tetanus-containing vaccine.

A first-grader in a Fayette County school district has been diagnosed with whooping cough (pertussis).

Frazier School District officials sent a letter home to parents warning them that their child may have been in close contact with the student.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health notified the school that the first-grader was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease.

Whooping cough is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The disease begins with cold symptoms and a cough and becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs followed by a whooping noise.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health strongly recommends the following:

  • If your child is coughing, promptly contact your child's doctor. Explain to the doctor your child has been exposed to a case of pertussis and needs to be evaluated. Your child's doctor may obtain a nasopharyngeal culture to test for pertussis. In addition, if the doctor suspects pertussis, an antibiotic will be given to your child to help lower the chance of spreading the disease to others. Your child will be able to return to school after completing the first 5 days of the medication. It is very important that upon returning to school your child continues (s) taking his or her medication until completed.
  • Even if your child is not coughing, you may need to contact your child's doctor and explain that he or she has been exposed to a case of pertussis. The doctor should give your child an antibiotic to lower his or her chance of becoming ill if he / she fits one of the following categories:
    • All persons with preexisting health conditions that may be exacerbated by pertussis (eg, immunocompromised, severe asthma)
    • Contacts who themselves have close contact with infants, pregnant women, or individuals with pre-existing health conditions that may be exacerbated by pertussis
    • All contacts in high risk settings that include infants or women in the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • If your child is diagnosed with pertussis, all household members and other close contacts should also be treated with antibiotics, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
  • Making sure that children receive all their shots on time is the best way to control pertussis in the future. In children, diphtheria, tetanus and a cellular pertussis vaccine
    (DTaP) are only given to those under 7 years of age. Children should receive one dose of DTaP vaccine each at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and between 15 and 18 months of age. In addition, one dose is needed before starting school (on or after the fourth birthday). Check with your pediatrician to see if your child is eligible for another dose of DTaP in the accelerated schedule. If you are not sure your child is properly immunized, promptly contact his or her doctor.
    • The combination of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) is recommended for children ages 7 through 10 (if not fully vaccinated) and adolescents and adults as a one-time dose. It is also recommended for pregnant women during each pregnancy to protect the newborn infant.
    • Anyone eligible for Tdap may receive it regardless of the interval since the most recent tetanus-containing vaccine.

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