Case Of Whooping Cough Confirmed At Cedar Valley High School
EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah – Officials with the Utah County Health Department have confirmed a case of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, at Cedar Valley High School and reminded Utahns to use good health practices this winter.
“Pertussis is certainly a concern, but this is peak influenza time as well,” said Aislynn Tolman-Hill, public information officer for the Utah County Health Department. “It’s certainly not something for people to be alarmed about, but it really is something that is a good reminder for winter (and) good health practices.”
Tolman-Hill said a letter has been sent to parents with children in classes with the student confirmed to have the illness.
“If there are any students that are exempted from vaccines for whatever reason, they have to be excluded from school for a certain amount of time,” she said. “Really it’s just good awareness for parents and for them to be aware of signs and symptoms in their children.”
Tolman-Hill said good hand washing, using hand sanitizer when running water and soap are unavailable, trying not to touch the face and staying home from school or work when sick are good practices year-round but are especially important this time of year.
Health officials also recommended anyone in the school who is pregnant or lives with a pregnant woman or infant to contact their health provider if they believe any direct exposure has occurred.
Whooping cough symptoms include a first stage that begins like a cold with a runny nose sneezing and a low-grade fever, according to officials with the Utah Department of Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology.
The second stage, which includes uncontrolled coughing spells, can last up to six weeks and as long as 10 weeks in some cases.
The disease can cause serious illness in people of all ages, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and can be life-threatening, especially in babies and young infants.
UDOH officials said teens and adults often recover from whooping cough with no problems and said the best way to prevent the disease is to get vaccinated.
The DTaP vaccine is given to infants and young children in a series of five shots and the booster Tdap vaccine is recommended for most people 11 years and older who have not previously received it as the vaccine given in childhood nor contracting the illness creates a lifelong immunity to the disease, according to experts with the Utah County Health Department.
Health officials said pregnant women should get one dose of Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of each pregnancy.
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