Whooping cough confirmed in Edgerton

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Gazette staff
Saturday, June 5, 2010
— A 12-year-old student at Edgerton Middle School has a confirmed case of pertussis, or whooping cough, according to the Rock County Health Department.

The child was in contact with other school children during the infectious period, said Janet Zoellner, public health nursing director. The child will not return to school until treatment is complete, she said.

Zoellner said pertussis is passed through contact with an infected person, not through surfaces, so the school doesn’t need to be disinfected. Pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease that affects the respiratory tract.

Superintendent Norm Fjelstad said the district on Friday sent letters notifying parents of the case.

“It’s mainly a matter of being aware of signs and symptoms,” Zoellner said. “A chronic cough that hasn’t gone away should be tested to make sure (it’s not) whooping cough.”

Whooping cough begins much like a cold with a runny nose, possible fever and a mild but irritating cough for one to two weeks, she said.

The illness progresses to spells of explosive coughing, followed by a “whooping” sound as a person struggles to breathe.

Severe coughing spells can last for several weeks to two months or longer.

Infants too young to be immunized are at the highest risk, Zoellner said, and older kids sometimes don’t have symptoms as severe as younger ones.

Children should be vaccinated for pertussis as infants and before entering middle school, she said.

Whooping cough is common, she said.

“We have not had a year free of pertussis in the recent past,” she said.

Last updated: 2:10 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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