Pertussis, more commonly known as "Whooping Cough," is caused by the bacterium Bordatella pertussis. It is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by cough. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough that becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs ("coughing fits") followed by a whooping noise.
However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. There is generally no fever. People with pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help.
If a student comes down with cold symptoms that include a severe cough, talk to your child’s parents without delay and possibly excluding the child from school until a healthcare provider rules out the possibility of pertussis. Giving antibiotics early can help the student get well faster and lower the chances of spreading the disease to others. Pertussis is vaccine preventable and is often administered as part of the Tdap vaccine.
For more information regarding Pertussis please visit:
Back to Communicable Diseases for Schools