The Chester County Health Department has confirmed 30 cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) between 9/1/16 – 11/10/16. Chester County had a total of 12 cases last year, so this is a significant increase in Pertussis. Most cases are children ages eight to 12 with a small number of students aged 15-17.
The disease progresses from cold-like symptoms for one to two weeks, followed by intense coughing that lasts for two to three months (this cough can linger even after treatment). In infants, the symptoms are more severe and you are most likely to hear the “whoop”.
The Pertussis (Tdap) vaccines are decreasing the length of illness and severity of the cough. There have been no hospitalizations. The current recommended treatment is a regimen of antibiotics (typically Zithromax for five days). The CCHD is recommending that students remain at home for five days while taking the antibiotics. They are also advising doctors to exclude students from school forfive days with symptoms of Pertussis, even if there is no confirmation of disease.
School Nurses must report all cases of confirmed or suspected Pertussis to the CCHD.