Additional Confirmed Case of Pertussis in Ashland Schools

October 6, 2017

Dear Parent,
Employees and students may have had contact with another person with pertussis or “whooping cough” during the first week of October. Remember this very contagious disease can cause serious complications, especially for infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and immune compromised individuals. Pertussis is easily transmitted person to person throughout the school and community. Pertussis is a vaccine preventable disease and in order to prevent further spread of this disease we are encouraging people to check their vaccine status and get immunized!

After being exposed to pertussis, the first cold-like symptoms (runny nose, low-grade fever, mild occasional cough, and pauses in breathing for infants) 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 fits that can trigger a gag reflex, vomiting, and take your breath away. Sometimes a ‘whoop’ is heard as the person gasps for air.

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.
Pertussis can be prevented by vaccination:
  • Dtap (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis) vaccine is available for children under 7 years of age.
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis) vaccine is available for children (ages 10 or older) and adults. Tdap can also be given to 7-10 year olds who are not fully immunized against Pertussis. (
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.

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