Ashland, Ore. – The Ashland School District’s new pertussis–or “whooping cough”–cases come on the heels of four other cases reported just last month. Now, health officials are advising parents on what to do next.
All exposed children who have not been vaccinated will be excluded from school for 21 days as required by Oregon law.
Dr. Jim Shames of Jackson County Health explained how they decide if a child has been exposed to pertussis. “A person who is sick and coughing can spread droplets out 3 feet maybe 6 feet around them,” Dr. Shames said. “So we use that as a criteria to decide how much exposure a child may have had, how close their proximity was. In general that’s going to be a classroom.”
15 students have been excluded. Of those, three have now been immunized and are able to return to school. The 12 others will have to complete the 21-day exclusion.
Symptoms of whooping cough appear about 10 days after being exposed. Those infected may notice a runny nose, low grade-fever and a mild cough.
Health officials are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated.