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Whooping cough confirmed at Wellesley High School

Posted by Evan Allen  December 20, 2012 03:39 PM

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Wellesley High School has two confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, according to a letter sent out to parents on Wednesday by the school’s nursing department.

“While there is no cause for alarm, it is important for you to have this information,” the letter reads. “At this time, there are no recommendations for any other interventions among classmates or other students in the school, but parents and guardians should be aware of the symptoms of pertussis.”

Pertussis is spread person to person by sneezing, coughing, and talking. It is caused by bacteria, which live in the nose, mouth and throat.

Symptoms usually take about seven to ten days to show up after exposure, according to the letter, though some people don’t get sick for up to 21 days.

Pertussis can be mild to severe. It starts with cold-like symptoms, and after about two weeks, the cough gets worse. The second stage of pertussis is marked by uncontrollable coughing spells that may be followed by vomiting; this last from four to six weeks. Between spells, people appear to be well. There is usually no fever. Vaccinated children, teens and adults may have milder symptoms that seem like bronchitis, according to the letter.

Anyone concerned that their child is exhibiting these symptoms should have them tested by their primary care physician. The Wellesley Board of Health and the nurses are tracking the pertussis, so inform the school if your child has an illness.

Anyone with questions or concerns may contact:

Linda Corridan, RN 781-446-6210 ext.4110 Department Head for Nursing
Pam Sheridan, RN 781-446-6305 ext. 4611 High School Nurse
Shari Johnson, RN 781-446-6305 ext 4503 High School Nurse

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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