Pertussis cases identified in the Woodland School District

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The below information was sent home with students as a letter on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Download the English version of the letter by clicking this link or the Spanish version by clicking this link.

Woodland Public Schools wants to inform parents and community members that a couple of cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been identified in some individuals in the Woodland School District. Students may have been exposed to disease.

What is Pertussis?

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by coughing. Pertussis symptoms typically begin with cold-like symptoms and a cough that worsens over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms may include coughing "fits" followed by a "whooping" noise, vomiting, cyanosis (turning blue), or the inability to catch one's breath.

The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help eliminate the cough. Usually, persons infected with pertussis do not have a fever. In older children and adults, the symptoms may only be a persistent cough which is worse at night. This illness is often very severe in small infants.

We recommend the following steps for children and staff who may have been exposed to pertussis:

  • Please monitor your child for the  next 3 weeks for cold-like symptoms. Symptoms of pertussis usually appear with 7-10 days of exposure, but it can be as long as three weeks before symptoms begin. If your child develops a cough, fever, or other signs of respiratory illness, s/he should be evaluated promptly by your doctor for pertussis infection.

  • If you have a child under the age of 1 year who was potentially exposed, please with your doctor about getting antibiotics for your child even if your child does not exhibit any symptoms. Antibiotics will prevent an exposed infant from developing the illness and must be taken as soon as possible after exposure.

  • If you are pregnant, especially if in your third trimester, and were potentially exposed, please speak with your doctor about getting antibiotics for yourself to prevent the development of the illness even if you do not have any of the above symptoms. These antibiotics must be taken as soon as possible after exposure.

  • If you see your doctor for any of the reasons listed above, please show them this letter (English or Spanish) during your visit.

  • Although adults and children may contract pertussis even if they have had all or some of their immunizations (DTaP and Tdap), vaccination against pertussis is still one of the best ways of reducing the risk of getting the disease and may also reduce the severity of the disease if contracted. Pertussis vaccines are recommended for both children and adults. Adults and adolescents should have a Tdap booster shot.

Clark County Public Heath encourages parents to take this opportunity to ensure their families are up-to-date with vaccinations that protect against pertussis and other preventable diseases, regardless of a potential exposure.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Woodland School District Nurse, Channtel Miller, at (360) 841-2837.