Whooping Cough Spreads to K.D. Markley Elementary
Pertussis, an infectious disease also known as whooping cough, had previously been diagnosed in three Great Valley High School students.
Great Valley School District notified parents Friday morning of a fourth case of whooping cough in the district. A K.D. Markley Elementary School student was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease, which had previously been found in three students at Great Valley High School.
The letter to parents, signed by superintendent Alan Lonoconus, explained that students at the elementary school could have been exposed to the disease:
We learned today that one K.D. Markley student has a confirmed case of pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough. That student is currently under a doctor’s care and will not return to school until the doctor provides a note that the student is no longer contagious. However, your child may have been exposed between February 1, 2012, and February 3, 2012.
The average incubation period for Pertussis is 9–10 days, but ranges from 6-20 days. Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough that becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fits”) followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. There is generally no fever. People with Pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching their breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough. The disease can be very severe and, although deaths are rare, they do occur, especially in infants less than one year of age. For your information, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Fact Sheet is provided with this letter.
The full letter and an accompanying fact sheet produced be the Pennsylvania Health Department are attached to this article.
Chester County Health Services offers free Pertussis vaccinations at its West Chester office:
Pertussis vaccinations (DTaP and Tdap) are available at walk-in clinics for child and adult immunizations held weekly at the Government Services Center on the following days:
- Tuesdays 9:00am - 4:00pm
- Fridays 9:00am - 4:00pm
Wednesdays 11:00am - 6:00pm
Visit our Events Calendar to view all clinic dates. Walk In immunization clinics do not require an appointment unless for a flu shot. Parent or guardian must accompany child and bring along the child's shot records.
For more information, call 610-344-6252.