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5th case of whooping cough this year reported at a Ferndale school

Ferndale School District officials say a letter from Whatcom County Health Department was sent yesterday to families and individuals who may have been exposed to a Ferndale High School student who has been diagnosed with pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough.

The information provided in the letter is as follows

Dear Parent or Guardian,

A child that attends Ferndale High School has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). People who were within three feet of this individual for more than one hour could become sick May 6th through June 8th. We’re sending you information so you know what to look for in case your child gets sick.

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General information
• Not everyone who has a cough has pertussis. There are many other illnesses that can cause a cough.
• Pertussis requires close contact with an infected person in order to spread.
• Pertussis can cause severe illness in infants, and usually milder disease in older children, adolescents, and adults.
• People exposed to pertussis cannot pass it on to others unless they become sick themselves.

What you should do if your child becomes sick
If your child becomes sick with a runny nose or a cough illness, you should:
• Keep your child at home and avoid close contact with others. It is especially important not to go to any childcare or attend settings where there are other small children or infants.
• Remind your child to cover his/her mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Contact your child’s health care provider.  If you do not have a regular health care provider, go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care clinic.
• Tell your child’s health care provider about this letter or take it with you.
• If your child or someone in your household is in a high-risk category, be sure to tell the doctor.

Pertussis testing should be considered. The high-risk categories are:
• Infants under 1 year of age
• Pregnant women in the last 3 months of pregnancy
• Health care workers with face-to-face patient contact
• Persons living or working with infants or pregnant women

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What everyone should do, even if your child isn’t sick
• Be sure your children are up-to-date with pertussis vaccinations.
• There is also a pertussis vaccine recommended for older children and adults.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
• If you have a baby, keep the baby away from people that are sick.

For more information, call your usual health care provider. To learn more about Pertussis, please visit this link Whatcom County Pertussis Resource

This is the 5th reported case of pertussis within a Ferndale school this year. 2 were labeled “confirmed” due to laboratory testing while the other 3 have been described as “diagnosed.”

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