Ashland, Ore. – The Ashland School District has confirmed a second case of pertussis–also known as whooping cough–in their district.
In a letter addressed to parents, the school said students and employees may have had contact with someone with whooping cough during the first week of October.
The report comes after another case of pertussis that occurred during the first two weeks of school.
Officials didn’t specify which specific school or schools in the district were affected in either case.
The Mayo Clinic describes whooping cough as “a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it’s marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like ‘whoop.’”
To prevent the spread, family members are encouraged to do the following:
- Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Practice frequent hand-washing
- Avoid sharing cups, drinks, etc.
- Make sure everyone is up-to-date with their vaccines
The disease can be prevented by vaccination. Ashland, has the highest rate of immunization exemptions in the state, according Ashland Child.
As of mid-February last school year, 77.6% of students enrolled in the district had their DTap(Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis)/Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis) vaccine.
26.7% of students were exempted from vaccinations.
The district reiterated in their letter, “Pertussis is a vaccine preventable disease and in order to prevent further spread of this disease we are encouraging people to check their vaccine status and get immunized!”
The District said regardless of vaccination status, students with symptoms of pertussis “must stay home from school until appropriately treated and no longer contagious.”
According to the Ashland School District, “Vaccines are available at Jackson County Health and Human Services at 140 S Holly Street in Medford, Monday- Friday from 8:30-4:00 pm daily. No appointment is necessary.”