NORTHVILLE, Mich. – A rare case of pertussis was confirmed at Northville High School this week, according to a letter sent home with students.
Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a contagious illness that is spread through coughing and sneezing. It begins with mild cold-like symptoms that appear 7-21 days after a person is exposed. It can be deadly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on pertussis can be found here.
Parents are advised to keep an eye on their children for any symptoms of pertussis over the next several weeks. If you notice any of these symptoms, keep your child at home and contact your physician immediately. Quick identification of suspected cases can reduce any further exposure.
Symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, red eyes, mild fever and a dry cough. More severe symptoms include vomiting, red or blue faces, extreme fatigue and the titualar"whoop" sound while trying to grab a breath of air.
The school recommends vaccines that protect against pertussis as the best way to prevent infection, in addition to washing your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing or touching common surfaces like door knobs, keyboards and telephones. Alcohol-based sanitizers are also helpful to reducing the spread of the illness.