Whooping Cough Diagnosed In TC West Student
By Beth Milligan | Nov. 10, 2017
A student at Traverse City West Senior High School has been diagnosed with whooping cough, prompting officials to caution parents to monitor potential symptoms in their teens.
The infected student's name has not been released due to federal privacy laws, but with the disease - also called pertussis - confirmed in the school community, West officials sent a letter to parents Thursday urging them "to have any unusually severe or prolonged cough checked out by your family's physician."
The first stage of whooping cough symptoms are similar to the common cold: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and mild, occasional cough, with the cough gradually becomeing more severe. After one to two weeks, the second stage begins in which there are bursts of numerous, rapid coughs due to the difficulty of expelling thick mucus. Vomiting and exhaustion commonly follow the coughing episodes. Recovery is gradual in the third stage of the infection.
"If your child should happen to develop pertussis, it will be important for the child to be treated quickly, both for the child’s sake and to help prevent further spread of the infection," West officials wrote. "There is a vaccine that is protective against pertussis. It is part of the usual 'baby shots' and is required for entry into Michigan childcare programs and schools, unless a student has an approved waiver for medical or other reasons."
The school continued that "while we respect the right of every parent to make health choices for their child, we want to ensure that information regarding potential exclusions is understood by those who may be impacted. The local and/or state public health department has the authority to use exclusion as a disease control measure, including for pertussis, and exclusions can last up to 21 days or more."