Health officials are urging caution for parents and guardians of Springboro Schools children and are being told to monitor their children after district officials Wednesday learned there has been a case of pertussis (whooping cough) identified at the high school.
Whooping cough is a potentially life-threatening childhood illness that all but disappeared in the 1940s after a vaccine was developed. In recent decades, the illness has made a comeback, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Primary reasons for the resurgence of the illness are a weakening of immunity in adults as they have aged, combined with a growing population of unvaccinated children.
School officials in Springboro sent a letter to parents and guardians Wednesday evening, indicating that only the one case has been identified at the high school and no other school buildings in the district.
The Warren County Health Department is recommending that parents and guardians monitor their children for signs of prolonged coughing that should be evaluated by their physician. The intervention is necessary to help curb the number of illnesses from growing, according to Shelly Norton of the health department.
She said that pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It is spread by direct contact with fluids from the nose or throat of the infected individuals.
The illness begins with cold symptoms (runny nose, mild cough, low-grade fever, sneezing). Within several days, the cough becomes more severe and can be characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs, followed by a crowing or high pitched “whoop.”
According to the American Lung Association, it’s also important to know adults are at risk even if they were vaccinated as children.
It is recommended that all adults ages 19-65 should receive a single “booster” vaccination, as well as adults aged 65 years and older who have not previously received a Tdap shot.
A recently released CDC reports reveals that 65% of pregnant women in the United States have not received whooping cough vaccinations.
Influenza and whooping cough can be deadly for babies, and vaccinating women against the illnesses helps protect them and their babies, CDC officials said.
If your child has a persistent cough or if you have any questions, contact your child’s physician. If you or your doctor have further questions, contact the Warren County Health Department at 513-695-2097.
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