Confirmed Case of Pertussis in Ashland School District

September 13, 2017
Dear Parents/Guardians,
Employees and students may have had contact with a person with confirmed pertussis during the first 2 weeks of school. Pertussis, also called “Whooping Cough”, is a disease caused by a bacteria.  It can cause serious complications, especially for infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and those who are immune compromised. Pertussis affects not only the individual with the disease but can be easily transmitted person to person throughout the community.
After being exposed to pertussis, the first cold-like symptoms appear in about 10 days
(1-3 weeks).  After a week or two, the ‘cold’ goes away, but the cough becomes more pronounced with coughing spells that can trigger a gag reflex, vomiting, and take your breath away.  Sometimes a ‘whoop’ is heard as the person gasps for air.
Pertussis can be prevented by vaccination.  Dtap (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis) vaccine  is available for children under 7 yrs of age, and Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis) vaccine  is now available for older kids and adults (ages 10-64 yrs). Tdap can also be given to 7-10 year olds who are not fully immunized against Pertussis. (
Regardless of vaccination status, children with symptoms (see above) must stay home from school until appropriately treated and no longer contagious.  Contact your health-care provider for a pertussis PCR test and for possible treatment.  If treatment is recommended, it takes 5 days of antibiotics before the child is no longer contagious and may return back to school.
To help prevent the spread of this disease, please encourage your family members to:
  • Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Practice frequent hand-washing
  • Avoid sharing cups, drinks, etc
  • Make sure everyone is up-to-date with their vaccines
Vaccines are available at Jackson County Health and Human Services at 140 S Holly Street in Medford,
Monday- Friday from 8:30-4:00 pm daily.  No appointment is necessary.  In addition, you may want to check with your own health care provider as many of them have Dtap and Tdap vaccine. 
If you have any additional questions about whooping cough or possible exposure, you may call your own physician or the Health Department at 541-774-8045.

Jackson County Health  and Ashland Schood District Joint Statement

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