The Walpole School Department confirmed Wednesday that a student at the Boyden Elementary School has Pertussis, better known as Whooping Cough. The school did not release the name or age of the student, but the Boyden houses classes from Kindergarten to the fifth grade.
From Walpole School Superintendent Lincoln Lynch’s statement:
There have been no other confirmed cases at the WPS and it is believed that no others students have been exposed. We have been informed by a DPH Epidemiologist that we are past the point of contagion for other students and staff.
The school system has been working with the Massachusetts Department of Health and followed all recommendations, according to Lynch.
Pertussis is a severe respiratory illness that results in violent, uncontrolled coughing. Patients cough so hard they have to gulp in air to breathe, resulting in a whooping sound. Whooping Cough generally strikes young children and can be fatal to infants, according to the CDC.
There were 330 reported cases of Whooping Cough in Massachusetts in 2013, according to the CDC. At 5 cases per 100,000 people, Massachusetts ranks below the national average of 7.72 per 100,000.
Lynch did not give any details about the case, including whether the student was vaccinated with the DTaP vaccine, which the CDC claims is 80-90 percent effective.