School district warns of whooping cough

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Latest: 4:00 pm, 11/29/17, Wednesday 

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Whooping cough is infecting a lot of kids in area schools. The outbreak has hit 28 students in the past two months.

Counting all 41 cases it’s seen this year, C-U Public Health District says it’s the worst outbreak in ten years. It can be deadly; it’s especially harmful to infants and the elderly because of weakened immune systems.

But, the cough can kill and it spreads fast. So fast, it’s hit seven area schools in the past two months.

“I got a phone call at 5 o’clock in the morning. My daughter called and said, ‘Dad, you need to take me and my daughter down to the hospital right now.'”

It was a phone call nobody wants.

“She said she got up to get ready for school and had a coughing attack and blacked out.”

They didn’t know it then, but test results showed his granddaughter had whooping cough.

“I would start coughing and I couldn’t get it to stop and I wouldn’t be able to catch my breath.”

Sanford was one of 28 students in Central Illinois taken out of school because of it.

“I talked to my nurse and she said it’s highly contagious so we want you to stay home, isolated for five days.”

It can spread through one touch, by direct contact with bodily fluids from sneezing or coughing. All the students who were reported to have it were up-to-date on their vaccines, but it doesn’t make them immune. However, there is some good news this time.

“We haven’t seen what we typically see when we think of pertussis: that very horrible cough, that whooping sound. Typically, what we’ve been seeing in the cases that we’ve been getting is more of a milder cough.”

CUPHD says kids likely won’t die from it, but infants and the elderly can become seriously ill because of weakened immune systems.

Schools are sanitizing everything to prevent the outbreak from spreading any more than it already has. They haven’t found a link between all the schools, so right now, health officials are stumped about how it’s spreading so fast.

There have been two confirmed cases at Mahomet-Seymour schools in recent days. In October, 20 kids were diagnosed at Rantoul Township High School. There have also been cases at five other schools. 

Update: 4:45 pm, 11/18/17, Tuesday

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A whooping cough outbreak has been reported in schools in the area. C-U Public Health District says it’s seen more cases this year than in the past ten years.

There are 28-confirmed cases in several schools in the last two months. With 13 cases earlier this year, it makes it the largest outbreak in a decade.

Just Monday, two cases were confirmed in Mahomet-Seymour schools. In October, 20 kids were diagnosed at Rantoul Township High School. Other cases have been confirmed at five other schools.

Whooping cough is commonly known as a spasmodic, high-pitched cough with the symptoms of a cold. All 28-students reported with it were up-to-date on vaccinations, so even though this is serious, there is some good news.

The cough is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids from sneezing or coughing. CUPHD says kids won’t die from it, but infants and the elderly can because of lower immune systems.

Health officials are trying to prevent the outbreak from spreading. All those with it have been sent home and told to be isolate for at least five days while on antibiotics. 

Original: 11:00 am, 11/28/17, Tuesday

MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — School officials are warning parents of two confirmed cases of whooping cough.

One case involves a 3rd grader at Lincoln Trail; the other a 7th grader at the junior high school.

Pertussis is a contagious, bacterial illness spread by droplets or direct contact with airborne respiratory secretions or indirect contact with articles soiled by the infected person, such as a Kleenex.

Symptoms usually appear 5-to-10 days after exposure, but can take up to 21-days and appear similar to the common cold with a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and occasional cough.

The cough gradually becomes more severe over the course of two weeks  and develops the characteristic high-pitched “whoop” sound.

C-U Public Health District makes the following recommendations concerning suspected/confirmed cases of pertussis:

  • Cases of pertussis must be excluded from school, daycare, or other social gatherings until at least 5 days after starting on antibiotic therapy.
  • Please consult with your physician if someone in your home is experiencing any pertussis-like symptoms. Your doctor can diagnose the disease in a few days by ordering a PCR test. If the test is positive all household members and high-risk individuals need to receive 5 days of antibiotic therapy.
  • Every child should of have received the pertussis vaccine at 2, 4, 6 and 15 months of age and another dose at 4 to 6 years of age. This vaccine is given in the same shot with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines. Immunization is required for child care and school attendance. A single dose of Tdap is recommended for people 11 – 64 for continued protection against pertussis.

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