Whooping cough cases confirmed in Elkhorn school

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Staff | January 14, 2014

ELKHORN--Cases of pertussis or whooping cough have been confirmed at West Side Elementary School in Elkhorn, and the disease may be showing up in students at other local schools, according to a news release from the Elkhorn Area School District and the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services.

Pertussis, a highly contagious respiratory disease, is marked by severe, often uncontrollable coughing that can make it difficult to breathe. The cough, which worsens at night or with exercise, can have a “whooping” sound. Pertussis may be accompanied by cold symptoms. According to the release, some of the students with pertussis have had a cough lasting more than 10 days.

Health officials are urging parents to contact their doctor's office if anyone in their family shows signs of the disease.

Babies under the age of 1 are most vulnerable to pertussis and prone to complications and death from the disease. Children or adults with symptoms of the disease, or who have been around other sick students and been in contact with infants or pregnant women should contact their doctor's office to assess the risk.

Health officials say  it's possible for someone who is fully vaccinated to still become infected with pertussis, but parents whose children are not fully immunized are encouraged to contact the Walworth County Public Health Department at (262) 741-3140 or their doctor as soon as possible.

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