Three more whoop­ing cough cases con­firmed

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Bradley Sch­legel

Two students and one staff mem­ber at Soud­er­ton Area High School have been di­ag­nosed with lab­o­ra­to­rycon­firmed per­tus­sis, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion re­leased Mon­day morn­ing by dis­trict of­fi­cials.

Per­tus­sis, also known as whoop­ing cough, is a highly con­ta­gious res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion sent to par­ents throughout the dis­trict.

All three peo­ple have started the ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­cal treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to Frank Gal­lagher, the dis­trict’s as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent and di­rec­tor of pupil ser­vices.

Gal­lagher also said each is fol­low­ing the rules for re­turn­ing to school as de­ter­mined by the dis­trict and the Mont­gomery County Health Depart­ment.

Frank Custer, a spokesman for Mont­gomery County, did not re­turn an email mes­sage Mon­day morn­ing.

Chil­dren with per­tus­sis, if their med­i­cal con­di­tion al­lows, may re­turn to school and ac­tiv­i­ties five days af­ter start­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate an­tibi­otics, ac­cord­ing to the mes­sage. It states that they must continue tak­ing the an­tibi­otics un­til com­pleted.

All house­hold mem­bers and close con­tacts of a per­tus­sis case should re­ceive pre­ven­ta­tive an­tibi­otics re­gard­less of their age or vac­ci­na­tion sta­tus, ac­cord­ing to the same mes­sage.

Cit­ing pri­vacy laws, Gal­lagher de­clined to dis­close if the in­fected staff mem­ber is a teacher at the high school. He also chose not to speak about where or how the three ac­quired the virus that causes whoop­ing cough.

The dis­ease fea­tures an un­con­trol­lable, vi­o­lent cough that makes it hard

to breathe. Af­ter coughiQg fiWV, D SHUVRQ FDQ WKHQ strug­gle to breathe and emit a char­ac­ter­is­tic “whoop­ing” sound, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the Mont­gomery County Health Depart­ment.

In Septem­ber, three students at the school were di­ag­nosed with whoop­ing cough.

The three 15-year-old students are all friends and “hung around with each other this sum­mer,” Custer said last month.

In Septem­ber, Custer em­pha­sized that they con­tracted the per­tus­sis in­fec­tion in the community, not the school. Those who were in contact with them were given pre­ven­ta­tive treat­ment, Custer said.

All three students had prior vac­ci­na­tions for per­tus­sis, Custer said. How­ever, the vac­ci­na­tion does not al­ways pro­vide 100 per­cent pro­tec­tion. What it does do is lessen the sever­ity of the ill­ness so pa­tients don’t have to be hos­pi­tal­ized.

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