NORTHERN UTAH – Health department officials in northern Utah are working with parents and teachers in several Weber County schools in order to contain an outbreak of pertussis, which is commonly known as whooping cough.
According to a press release from the Weber-Morgan Health Department, an infant has been hospitalized due to pertussis and five more individuals are experiencing symptoms.
The investigation involves family members and students at Wahlquist Junior High School, Plain City Elementary School and Evergreen Montessori Academy.
The release states that an outbreak is defined as a period in which two or more cases present themselves in one school within 20 days. Amy Carter, who is a communicable disease nurse with the Weber-Morgan Health Department, said people should take precautionary measures.
“Pertussis is something we see all year long, not just during cold and flu season,” she stated in the press release. “This reminds us that we all need to be diligent about getting vaccinated, frequent hand washing, covering your cough and staying home when you are ill.”
Carter said they are concerned about those who are too young to be immunized.
“While the vaccines are very effective, we know there are some people who will not build full immunity,” Carter stated in the release. “Our main goal is to protect infants who cannot be immunized and are most at-risk from severe complications and even death.”
Carter said “most” of the cases are recovering, and she said people “should contact their medical provider if they are experiencing sneezing, a runny nose and other cold like symptoms especially if they have been exposed to someone who has had a lingering cough. Pertussis symptoms can last as long as three months if left untreated.”
Those experiencing symptoms should remain home from school, work and other activities until they complete a 5-day course of antibiotics. More information is available through the Center for Disease Control and Immunize.org.