Letter to Clark County schools parents - KPTV - FOX 12

Letter to Clark County schools parents

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The following is a letter sent from Clark County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick to parents of students in Vancouver-area schools:


We are writing to let you know that there have been several cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in area schools and other community settings.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease spread through the air by coughing. Pertussis usually begins with coldlike symptoms and a cough that worsens over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms may include coughing "fits" followed by a "whooping" noise, vomiting, cyanosis (turning blue) or the inability to catch one's breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not eliminate the cough. Persons infected with pertussis usually do not have a fever. In older children and adults, symptoms may be limited to a cough that lasts a long time and is worse at night. This illness is often very severe in small infants.

Although adults and children may catch pertussis, even if they have had all or some of their immunizations, vaccination against pertussis is still one of the best ways to reduce the risk of getting this disease. Clark County Public Health encourages parents to take this opportunity to ensure their families are up-to-date with vaccinations that protect against pertussis and other diseases.

People exposed to pertussis can lower the risk of becoming ill by taking antibiotics prescribed by their health care provider. Those who are already ill from exposure to someone with pertussis can take antibiotics to recover more quickly and reduce the risk of spreading pertussis to others.

Clark County Public Health Recommendations:

1. If you or your child developed a cold or coughing illness and the symptoms are still present after two weeks, get evaluated promptly by your doctor for pertussis infection.

2. If you are pregnant, especially in the third trimester, and believe you were exposed to someone with pertussis, ask your doctor about getting antibiotics to prevent the development of illness even if you do not have any symptoms, listed above. Antibiotics must be taken as soon as possible after exposure.

3. Please make sure that you are current on all of your pertussis vaccinations whether or not you were exposed to an ill person. Pertussis vaccines are recommended for both children and adults. Adults and adolescents should have a booster shot to protect them against pertussis.
If you have questions about pertussis or recommended childhood vaccinations, please call your health care provider or the Clark County Public Health Department at (360) 397-8182. Thank you for your attention.


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