Whooping cough outbreak hits Oregon High School


OREGON – The Ogle County Health Department (OCHD) is investigating a pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak at Oregon High School.

The department has seen eight positive cases from individuals at Oregon High School. The department has been working with the school to prevent the further spread of the disease.

Pertussis can cause serious illness in babies, children, teens, pregnant women and other susceptible adults. Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5 to 10 days after you are exposed. Sometimes pertussis symptoms do not develop for as long as 3 weeks.

Early symptoms of the disease usually start with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. In babies, the cough can be minimal or not even there. Early symptoms include:

* Runny nose

* Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)

* Mild, occasional cough

* Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)

After 1 to 2 weeks, and as the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis may appear and include:

* Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound

* Vomiting (throwing up) during or after coughing fits

* Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits

Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from your lungs. When there is no more air in the lungs, you are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. A person tested for pertussis should not return to work, or school and should avoid public gatherings until a negative test result is received. If a test result comes back positive you should start antibiotics immediately and remain home for 5 days until the antibiotics series is complete. Please make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date.

Protection against pertussis from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a pertussis booster shot called “Tdap” to help protect themselves and babies near or around them. If you need Tdap, contact your healthcare provider.

For questions or additional information, you may contact Ogle County Health Department at 815-562-6976.