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"This Is Parkway" Digital Magazine


Pertussis (whooping cough)

A few cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been confirmed in three Parkway Schools - West Middle, River Bend Elementary and Claymont Elementary.  Parents in these schools have been notified and school nurses are monitoring the situation, looking for any additional signs and symptoms among other students or staff.
Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough that may become much worse over 1-2 weeks.  Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fits”) followed by a characteristic high-pitched whoop.  However, older children, adults, and very young infants may not develop the whoop.  There is generally no fever. People with pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching breath.  The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help the cough.
Please consider the following health department recommendations if your school has had a confirmed case: 
  1. Infants under one year, and particularly under six months, are most likely to experience severe illness that may be life threatening if they develop pertussis. Young infants should be kept away from people with a cough. If your infant is exposed to pertussis notify their physician without delay.   A doctor should promptly evaluate infants with any coughing illness.  
  2. Consult with your child’s doctor to make certain your child is up to date on their pertussis immunization. It is also recommended that adolescents and adults receive pertussis immunization. 
  3. If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough, talk to your child’s doctor without delay. Tell him/her that there has been a confirmed case of pertussis in your child’s school. Testing a nasopharyngeal specimen to identify pertussis along with giving antibiotics early can help lower the chances of spreading the disease to others.
  4. Students 11 years or older who have not received Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) vaccination should receive a single dose of Tdap now if they have not received a Td vaccination within the past two years. Your child’s health care provider would have this information. The Tdap is available through your health care provider or through any of the St. Louis County Department of Health Clinics for a nominal fee.

For more information on pertussis click on the links below.

Influenza vs. Cold vs. Pertussis:  http://www.pkwy.k12.mo.us/news/whoop.pdf

Pertussis Fact Sheet:  www.pkwy.k12.mo.us/news/pertussis.pdf