As of Thursday, December 13, 2018
TONASKET - A student at Tonasket School District has been diagnosed with Pertussis- commonly known as whooping cough.
In a letter sent to parents earlier this week, school officials said school administration and the school nurse are working closely with the Okanogan County Public Health District to control the spread.
"Pertussis is a highly contagious disease spread through droplets coughed or sneezed into the air and/or onto surfaces," the letter said. "Pertussis starts with a cough which becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks."
Tonasket School District Superintendent Steve McCullough could not be reached immediately for comment.
The Tonasket case comes about two weeks after Oroville School District announced a student had been diagnosed with the disease.
"As you might figure, Pertussis is not unique to Oroville or specific to school districts," Oroville School District Superintendent Jeff Hardesty. "It can be contracted in public and or private spaces. It is my understanding that there has been only one confirmed case in the Oroville area and our district role has been to proactively communicate information with family's as a preventative measure.
"Okanogan County Public Health District is an important resource for helping to address and mitigate illnesses such as Pertussis and we have been in communication with them, as I am sure other districts along with health clinics have been as well," he said. "I do think it is important to note that, like with every flu and cold season, our practice has been to be extra vigilant in communicating with parents and with exercising cleaning routines. Cover your cough, wash your hands and stay home if you're sick."
Pertussis is a highly contagious disease spread through droplets coughed or sneezed into the air and/or onto surfaces. Pertussis starts with a cough that becomes much worse over one-to-two weeks. Coughing sounds like a long series of rapid coughs (coughing fits) followed by a whooping or "air-sucking" noise, according to health officials. Very young infants and adults may not develop the "whoop." There is generally no or only a slight fever. People with Pertussis may cough followed by vomiting, turning blue or difficulty catching their breath.
“It is cold and flu season and we are starting to see the typical variety of illnesses, however, we felt it is important to make you aware of a case of Pertussis being discovered in our school system,” a statement from Oroville School District said. “If you have further concerns regarding Pertussis or questions on vaccinations contact your doctor.”
More information about Pertussis can be found here.