New whooping cough case confirmed in Redmond School District

A second case of whooping cough has been confirmed in the Redmond School District, this time at Ridgeview High School.

In early November, parents at Obsidian Middle School were notified a student had contracted the illness. A week later, another case was confirmed at Bend High School.

In a letter to Redmond School District parents, the Deschutes County Health Department said the following steps should be taken to prevent or reduce the risk of developing this illness:

  • If your child is ill with a respiratory illness, please consult your medical provider for evaluation and let them know that there was a case of pertussis in your child’s school.

  • Symptoms of Pertussis: Illness begins as a mild upper respiratory infection and resembles a common cold (sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, mild cough). Usually, within two weeks, cough becomes more severe and is characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs followed by a crowing of high-pitched whooping sound and is sometimes followed by vomiting. A thick, clear mucus may be discharged. These episodes may recur for one to two months and are more frequent at night.

  • The best prevention against pertussis is up to date immunizations for Tdap. Vaccines are not 100% effective and it is still possible to become ill with pertussis, however, illness tends to be less severe in those people who are vaccinated.

Any student or staff with symptoms similar to those described above should seek a medical evaluation by their provider to rule out pertussis. Oregon Public Health Authority and Deschutes County Health say that when pertussis is suspected and antibiotics are prescribed for your child, they may not attend school until they have completed a minimum of five days of the prescribed medication to ensure that they are no longer contagious.

If you have further questions, please contact Deschutes County Health Services, Communicable Disease Line at 541-322-7418.

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