Spring of 2008 was the last time pertussis (whooping cough) was detected in Snoqualmie Valley Schools. For our family it ruined the final, fun-filled days of school for my youngest kids. My son’s best friend contracted the illness. My children didn’t end up with the pertussis, but symptomatic kids were not allowed at school – so home they stayed. Many tears were shed over missing the kindergarten picnic. Whooping cough are still evil words in our home…
Not even three years later King County Public Health confirms whooping cough is back at Cascade View Elementary School. According to a public health letter, 4th grade students in Mrs. Bernardo’s class were exposed to pertussis on January 3rd, 4th or 6th. The exposure also occurred on the same days in the Snoqualmie YMCA Child Care Program.
The bacterial illness presents with symptoms similar to a normal cold – runny nose, scratchy throat or a dry cough. The cough becomes worse over 1 – 2 weeks. Most people recover without any complications, but for infants whooping cough can be life-threatening. People at highest risk for severe infection due to pertussis are infants younger than one and kids un-immunized or partially immunized against pertussis.
People in high risk groups who have been directly exposed should contact their physician and discuss the possibility of preventative antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics can reduce the risk of infection if given within 21 days of exposure.
Having known a child who experienced this illness, I highly recommend seeking medical treatment early vs. later if you were exposed. According to my son’s friend (and confirmed by his mother) it is one of the worst coughs you can ever experience.