HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Henrico County Health Department sent out a memo to students and parents at an area high school after confirming a recent case of pertussis. Pertussis is more commonly known as whooping cough.
The case was reported at Glen Allen High School.
Whooping cough is a respiratory illness caused by bacteria that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by severe coughing and is spread through the air when people breathe in infected patients’ sneezes and or coughs.
While the disease is usually non-life-threatening, it can be very serious in infant cases and in individuals with compromised immune systems or other chronic conditions.
The Virginia Department of Health recommends that parents of kids and individuals who may have been in close contact with the case be notified.
In this case, the Health Department does not recommend preventative treatment for everyone at the school. It does, however, recommend individuals who experience a cough lasting more than two weeks or a severe cough with wheezing or vomiting go be evaluated by a primary care provider.
Those who may be infected with whooping cough should bring this up to the doctor and ask for a nasopharyngeal swab test for pertussis.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics and can be prevented by age-appropriate vaccinations in children and adults. Infected individuals typically develop symptoms within 7 to 10 days after exposure, but it can take up to 21 days.
Anyone with questions should contact their child’s pediatrician or Laura Young, Henrico Health District’s Epidemiologist, at 804-501-5216 or by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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