DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Education

June 6, 2013

Londonderry Middle School on pertussis alert

LONDONDERRY — Whooping cough has come to the middle school.

School officials sent home a letter saying “an individual” at the middle school had contracted whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

The letter urged parents to keep watch over their children as pertussis is highly contagious and can be spread by discharge from the nose and throat, or by sharing eating utensils and drink containers.

The letter did not specify whether it was a child or school employee that contracted the disease.

“It is possible that other cases of pertussis may occur over the next few weeks since pertussis is highly contagious,” the letter said.

Londonderry Middle School also had a case of pertussis last year.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, pertussis is a contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that begins like a cold with a runny nose and low-grade fever. Symptoms also include a long series of coughs following by a whooping sound. This stage of the disease could last up to six weeks or longer.

Symptoms can begin 10 to 14 days after exposure. Treatment early on can diminish the severity of the symptoms. Treatment with antibiotics is also recommended for household members and other close contacts.

The disease can be prevented with vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, between 10,000 and 25,000 cases are reported annually, including 10 to 20 deaths, according to the CDC.

Londonderry officials urge anyone that is diagnosed with pertussis or if parents suspect it could be pertussis to contact school nurses or the N.H. Bureau of Communicable Disease Control.

Information is also listed on the school district site at londonderry.org.

“Please be assured the Londonderry School District is taking every available precaution to ensure that all students and staff members are not at risk,” the letter stated.

Call 432-6920, Ext. 1113 for more information.

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