DALLAS – Polk County Public Health has confirmed a case of pertussis (whooping cough) at Dallas High School.
The school sent a letter informing parents on Thursday afternoon.
“Pertussis is a highly contagious and very serious bacterial infection. Pertussis bacteria live in the nose, mouth and throat and are spread by coughing and sneezing,” the letter read. “Pertussis often starts with mild cough and or cold-like symptoms which develop into a severe cough that can cause gagging and sometimes vomiting.”
Whooping cough mimics cold symptoms at first, and is highly contagious during the first week. People can spread the infection during this time and not know it, according to the letter.
Parents are asked to any report respiratory illness that occurs within three weeks of possible pertussis exposure to their health care provider.
Other recommendations include:
• Receive early testing for coughs lasting more than a week.
• Stay up to date with immunizations.
• Cover your cough and wash your hands.
If you have questions about pertussis, contact:
• Polk County Public Health – 503-623-8175.
• Dallas School District Nurse – 503-623-3611.
• Your doctor.
For more information on this story, see the Nov. 8 I-O.