Whooping cough cases reported at SAHS
Three Souderton Area High School students were diagnosed with whooping cough, or pertussis, officials said.
The Souderton Area School District sent parents an alert Wednesday about the confirmed cases, along with information about the disease, which features an uncontrollable, violent cough that makes it hard to breathe. After coughing fits, a person can then struggle to breathe and emit a characteristic “whooping” sound, according to information from the Montgomery County Health Department.
The three 15-year-old students are all friends and “hung around with each other this summer,” said Frank Custer, a spokesman for Montgomery County. He emphasized that they contracted the pertussis infection in the community, not the school. Those who were in contact with them are being 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 disease so patients don’t have to be hospitalized.
“Pertussis is a cyclical thing,” Custer said. ,W WHQGV WR VSLNH HvHUy IRuU RU fivH yHDUV. SR far this year, Montgomery County has seen 156 FRQfiUPHG FDVHV. TKHUH wHUH 38 LQ 2011 DQG 128 LQ 2010.
The amount of pertussis cases in the county is “consistent” with those in the state and across the United States, Custer said.
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Symptoms of pertussis begin within seven to 10 days of exposure, but can take as long as six weeks to appear. It begins as a mild illness like a common cold but progresses to the severe cough. Complications can include pneumonia, dehydration, seizures, encephalopathy and death, according to the health department.
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