Dear Parents,
 
Stark County Health Department officials report that there has been a significant increase in confirmed cases of Pertussis (whooping cough) in the county in the last month.  Below please find an information sheet on Pertussis.  The early symptoms resemble a cold with a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, and mild cough.
 
Pertussis is not suspected until the cough becomes more severe and does not go away.  Whooping cough is spread by direct contact with drainage from an infected person’s nose and throat.  Adults are also susceptible to Pertussis.  Most children are immunized to protect them from this disease. 
 
Due to the increased cases of Pertussis the Ohio Department of Health now requires all 6th graders to have the TDaP vaccination prior to entering the 7th grade.  Please consult with your child’s doctor to make sure your child is up-to-date on all required immunizations.
 
If your child becomes ill with the above symptoms, contact your physician.  If you have any questions please contact me at 330-877-4762 or you may also contact the Stark County Health Department @330-493-9928, and ask to speak with the communicable disease nurse or the epidemiologist.
 
Thank you,
 
Therese Gilbert, RN, BSN
School Nurse Coordinator

              Click here for local clinics:  Immunization Clinics available in Stark County
 
 
Pertussis Fact Sheet
What you should know…
 
What is pertussis?
More commonly known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease.
 
How is pertussis spread?
It is spread through direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat of infected individuals.
 
What are the symptoms?
Sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough; within two weeks, the cough becomes more severe and may be characterized by rapid coughs followed by a high pitched whoop.
 
How soon do symptoms appear?
Usually 7 to 10 days, with a range of 4 to 21 days after exposure to another ill person.
 
How long is someone contagious?
From the onset of mild symptoms to three weeks after the onset of coughing episodes or five days after the start of antibiotics.
 
Is there a vaccine?ks113865.jpg
Yes; while being fully up-to-date on DTaP vaccines may not prevent pertussis, it can help prevent serious complications.
 
Can a child being treated for pertussis attend school?
No.  All confirmed and suspect cases are to remain isolated at home until they have completed five days of antibiotic treatment.
 
If a child is symptomatic can they attend school?
No. The child should remain isolate until they have been evaluated by their physician to refrain from potentially spreading pertussis.
 
If a child is taking preventative antibiotic treatment, can they attend school?
Yes, as long as they are not symptomatic.
 
The same rules regarding isolation apply to staff members.  If they are symptomatic, they should remain at home to prevent spreading; if they are a confirmed or suspect case, they must be isolated for five days of antibiotic treatment.
 
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All confirmed or suspect cases of pertussis or an unusual increase in cough-related illness should be reported to the Stark County Health Department and the school nurse.
 
If you have questions, please contact Cheryl Long, RN (330-493-9914, ext. 246) or Karen Schanz, MPH (330-493-9914 ext. 287) at the Stark County Health Department.