Dear Parent/Guardian or staff member:
This letter is to inform you that another student who attends Emmaus High School has been diagnosed with Pertussis (whooping cough). This student is under the care of a physician. For more information about Pertussis please refer to the Pertussis (Whooping Cough) information webpage from the CDC for an explanation of the disease, how the germs are spread, typical symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health strongly recommends the following:
- If your child is coughing frequently or experiencing coughing fits:
Promptly contact your child’s doctor.
Explain to the doctor that a student at your child’s school has been diagnosed with pertussis and needs to be evaluated. Your child’s doctor may obtain a nasopharyngeal culture to test for pertussis. In addition, if the doctor suspects pertussis, an antibiotic will be given to your child to help him or her get well faster and to lower the chance of spreading the disease to others. Your child will be able to return to school after completing the first 5 days of the medication.
- If your child is NOT coughing:
You may choose to contact your child’s doctor and explain that he or she may have been exposed to a case of pertussis. The doctor may choose to give your child an antibiotic to lower his/her chance of becoming ill. If your child is asymptomatic and your physician chooses to put your child on an antibiotic as a precaution, he/she may still attend school.
The best way to control the future spread of pertussis is to make sure that all persons are adequately immunized. The pertussis vaccine (DTap) is only given to children under age 7 years of age. Children should receive one dose of DTap vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and between 15-18 months of age. In addition, one dose is needed after the age of four and before starting school. If you are not sure your child is properly immunized, promptly contact his or her doctor.
A new combination tetanus, diphtheria and acellular Pertussis vaccine (Tdap) has been approved for use in adolescents and adults. Tdap is recommended for use in all 11-12 year olds. Pennsylvania school immunization regulations require one dose of Tdap for entry into seventh grade if at least 5 years have elapsed since the last dose of a vaccine containing tetanus and diphtheria. Adults under 65 years of age should receive a single dose of Tdap to replace a single dose of tetanus-diphtheria (Td) for booster immunization against tetanus, diphtheria, and Pertussis if they received their most recent tetanus booster 10 years earlier. There is no Pertussis vaccine approved for adults aged 65 years and older.
If you have any questions after reading the attached information sheet, please contact the school nurse.