Whooping cough confirmed at Pleasant Valley H.S.
Pocono Record Writer Follow @@lmondrusek
Whooping cough is making an appearance in Monroe County.
Parents of Pleasant Valley High School students received an automated call Monday evening that a case has been confirmed in the school.
Whooping cough is formally known as pertussis.
Joshua Krebes, director of support services for the district, said the district sent the message out letting parents know to watch for a letter that was sent home explaining there had been a confirmed case, which is per state procedure.
He said it’s not the first time it’s come up in the district and the district has had cases in other buildings earlier in the school year. Just one student has been confirmed to have it, he said.
The majority of Pleasant Valley students are vaccinated, Krebes said.
There have been five confirmed and probable cases in Monroe County in 2015, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There have been 773 confirmed and probable cases statewide this year.
According to the state health department, whooping cough is a contagious disease involving the lungs and airways and is caused by a bacterium found in the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person. More than 100 cases are reported each year in Pennsylvania, mostly in children.
People can get it by breathing in droplets from the nose and mouth of an already infected person and an infected person is the most contagious at the beginning of the disease, the health department says.
If untreated, an infected person can spread whooping cough for up to three weeks after coughing starts, though antibiotic treatment limits contagiousness to five days after treatment is started, the health department says.
Symptoms can start five to 10 days after exposure to another person, but may take as long as 20 days to start. Symptoms include a mild illness, like a cold, and include sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild coughing progressing to severe coughing.
The health department says that some people will have episodes of rapid coughing followed by a high-pitched whoops as they take a deep breath, which may not happen in everyone, especially young infants.
Complications from whooping cough can include pneumonia, dehydration, seizures, encephalopathy, or a disorder of the brain and death, the health department says.