SALINE, MI – A case of pertussis was reported at Saline High School this week, the district confirmed in an email to parents Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease that can be severe, particularly in young children.
Pertussis is a disease of the respiratory tract caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough,” due to the “whoop” sound made when the infected person tries to breathe after a hard coughing fit.
Last month, there were eight confirmed cases of whooping cough reported by Ann Arbor Public Schools. As of Nov. 5, the Washtenaw County Health Department had reported 66 cases of whooping cough in 2019, including 19 during the month of October – the highest number of cases reported this year.
Adolescents and adults are also at risk for infection with the disease since vaccine protection declines over time, according to the health department.
The health department advises people of all ages to contact their health care provider if they have the following symptoms:
- Intermittent cough
- Vomiting after coughing spells
- Cough lasting seven days or more
Pertussis is spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The highest chance of it spreading happens during the early stage when symptoms resemble a cold. Symptoms can appear seven to 10 days after exposure, the health department says.
According to the Health Department, children younger than 18 months of age should have received four doses of pertussis vaccine. After the age of 4, children should receive a fifth dose prior to entering kindergarten.