Thursday, November 15, 2001

whooping cough cases reported

Kings School District sent information to parents

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP — There are three reported cases of whooping cough in the Kings School District, according to the Warren County Health Department.

        A letter sent home to Kings Local School District parents last week notified parents of the reported cases and explained whooping cough, or pertussis, and its symptoms.

   Most at risk: Infants under 1 year.
    Contagion time: Symptoms show seven to 10 days after exposure.
    Early stage: Sneezing, runny nose, fever, mild cough.
    Coughing stage: Severe coughing, whooping noise after coughing (rare), vomiting after coughing, turning blue from lack of air.
    Convalescing stage: After coughing fits end, gradual recovery.
    Duration: Several weeks to months.
    Treatment: Antibiotics.
    Prevention: Vaccination, not 100 percent effective.
    Deaths: Ten to 15 annually in United States.
    Sources — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Medical Association.
        Kings schools nursing coordinator Eva Garchar likened the letters to the routine ones sent to parents during flu season or for cases of head lice.

        “It's not anything to panic over,” Mrs. Garchar said. “This was not to alarm parents, it was an informational note.”

        Warren County Health Commissioner George Reed said that two of the cases from Kings are diagnosed and confirmed, while the third reported case is a sister of a confirmed patient. She has the symptoms of whooping cough, but a swab was not taken and she has not been officially diagnosed, he said.

        Dr. Reed said the children were vaccinated. He said that people react to vaccinations in different ways, and that there is no guarantee that vaccination will prevent the disease.

        He said that the rate of contagion from person to person is 70-80 percent for those without vaccination.

        “Obviously, it's still safe to send our children to school,” said Mrs. Denise Manderfield, mother of three Kings students. “My concern is that there's not enough information going home to every single parent in the district. Should we get boosters?”

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children receive four immunizations against whooping cough by 18 months.

        Under the Ohio Revised Code, if children have received four diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccinations (DTaP) prior to age 4, they must have one more before entering kindergarten, according to Jay Carey, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health. Immunization may wear off by age 10, according to the CDC.

        Mrs. Garchar said that people do not receive booster doses of the pertussis vaccination after age 7, because there may be vaccination side-effects that could be more significant in adults.

        The health commissioner said that there have been nine reported cases of whooping cough in all of Warren County for 2001, and that the number is about the same as last year. Some victims have been adults.


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