There has been a confirmed diagnosis of pertussis – whooping cough – in a student in the Harwood Unified Union School District.
Pertussis is a contagious disease that is spread through the air when infected people cough. Immunization protects most children during the elementary school years; however, that protection lessens over time. Whooping cough can also occur in fully immunized individuals.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, whooping cough can begin with symptoms of a cold that worsens over several weeks. Symptoms can include a long series of coughs, sometimes followed by a whooping noise. Older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. Vomiting may occur after a coughing episode. There is generally no fever. Antibiotic treatment early in the disease may decrease the severity of symptoms and reduce the infectiousness of the ill person. Antibiotics may be recommended for family members, friends and close contacts of pertussis cases in order to prevent them from contracting and/or transmitting the disease.
Students and/or staff with a cough are advised to see their doctor for evaluation and treatment if necessary.