ONEONTA – Multiple cases of whooping cough have been confirmed at Oneonta High School, according to the Oneonta City School District.
High school officials say that there were a total of six cases of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, and several of those students have already returned to school.
According to a notice posted to the district's website, parents with high school children received a notice that whooping cough had been confirmed at the high school. When the cases were discovered, the school nurse notified high school officials and the Otsego County Health Department.
Whooping cough is a very contagious respiratory disease that infects the airways and can be transmitted from person to person by coughing and sneezing, or by spending a lot of time near one another where you’re sharing breathing space, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated, and to keep babies and other people at high risk away from infected people.
The school district offers the following guidelines regarding when students should not attend school and other activities if they’re sick:
If your healthcare provider says your child has a cough but does NOT have pertussis:
- If your child has a cough, they should not attend school, work, or public activities and they should see a healthcare provider to determine if they have pertussis. Inform the healthcare provider that your child may have been exposed to pertussis.
If your child has a weakened immune system or has a condition that would be worsened by pertussis and has been a close contact to someone with pertussis:
- Ask your healthcare provider to consider prescribing antibiotics to your child as soon as possible to prevent pertussis. Antibiotics are recommended for exposed persons with certain underlying conditions even if they are not coughing.
If your child lives with any of the following people and was exposed to pertussis, ask your healthcare provider to prescribe antibiotics for your child as soon as possible, even if your child is not coughing:
- A woman who is pregnant
- A baby younger than 12 months old
- Anyone with a weakened immune system or a pre-existing health condition that could become worse if they became infected with pertussis (e.g. asthma, chronic lung disease)
If your child has been diagnosed with pertussis by his or her doctor:
- Inform the school that your child has been diagnosed with pertussis
- Your child should not attend school and public activities until they have been on an antibiotic effective to treat pertussis for five days