Thirty cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in Warren County this year, 26 from Springboro schools, according to health district data.
On Tuesday, a Springboro school district nurse alerted parents that “additional positive cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) have been confirmed throughout the district.”
“Springboro Schools is continuing to monitor these additional reported illnesses. Based on the time of year, students have been encouraged to practice good health hygiene, which includes hand-washing, staying at home if ill, and keeping common surfaces regularly cleaned. The district will continue to follow protocol, working with the Warren County Health Department and take all the necessary precautions throughout the district,” District Nurse Bronwyn Patterson said.
Two cases have been reported in Franklin and one each in Mason and South Lebanon, according to Shelly Norton, the health district’s public information officer.
The county total is more than four times the amount reported at the end of October, with more than six times as many cases confirmed in Springboro. The totals include adults and children, according to Norton.
It’s unclear what is causing the number of cases in Springboro.
Norton cited “increased awareness, improved diagnostic tests, better reporting, more circulation of the bacteria and waning immunity” to explain the nationwide increase in reported cases.
“The bacteria that cause pertussis are also always changing at a genetic level. Research is underway to determine if any of the recent changes may contribute to the increase in disease,” Norton added in email responses to questions.
Part of the increase in reported cases is attributed to parental notification at school, she added.
“When parents are notified of a case of pertussis from their child’s school, they are more likely to go to the doctor and ask for testing. Therefore, we are seeing an increase in cases that may not have been identified,” Norton said.
While the number of reported cases typically fluctuates, Norton said there has been an upward national trend in recent years.
In Warren County, the 30 already reported in 2019 is more than any year since 2014, when 88 cases were reported, according to health district data.
To combat the illness, vaccinations are recommended for children and adults.
“Good hand-washing, cover your cough and being vaccinated are the best ways to help prevent pertussis,” Norton added.
In Tuesday’s message to parents, Patterson said, “Questions or concerns regarding attendance can be addressed on a case-by-case basis with the school building’s nurse, the district nurse, or attendance office.”
For more information on the illness, call a doctor or the health department, 513-695-2097.
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