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Pertussis Outbreak Hits Tuolumne County School

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Sonora, CA — An outbreak of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, has been diagnosed among several students at Tuolumne County´s Sierra Waldorf School.

Pertussis begins as a common upper respiratory infection with congestion, sneezing and sore throat. After several days it typically advances to a characteristic severe cough which occures in spells. In children under the age of eight, these episodes may be followed by a gasp for air which can create a loud “whooping” sound.

The incubation period for pertussis is from four to 21 days but patients may remain infectious for up to three weeks or more unless treated with antibiotics.

If your child´s cough persists for 10 days you are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately. There is a vaccine available for pertussis which is combined with standard childhood vaccinations. While the coverage provided by this vaccine is not complete, it will limit spread through the community and it will significantly diminish the likelihood of severe disease in vaccinated patients.

Questions regarding pertussis can be directed to County Health Officer Dr. Todd Stolp at (209) 533-7401.

Written by Bill Johnson