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Whooping cough found at local schools

At least 20 cases of whooping cough were confirmed in Rochester Public Schools students.

The outbreak has been mainly at Century High School, with "sporadic cases in middle and high school aged students at other schools in the past two weeks," said Shay Baumbach, a public health educator with Olmsted County Public Health Services, in an email statement.

Notification of a potential exposure is sent to parents/guardians if a student is confirmed to have pertussis, according to Baumbach. "Parents of those who were potentially exposed to pertussis are advised to monitor their child for symptoms and consult with their healthcare provider if symptoms develop."

RPS sent out an update to parents last week, noting, at that time, there were five cases confirmed.

"Olmsted County Public Health Services, Rochester Public Schools, Olmsted Medical Center and Mayo Clinic are all working together to help reduce the spread of Pertussis in our community and schools," Baumbach said.


Olmsted County Public Health Services would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone how to help stop the spread of pertussis and protect the health of their family and others:

• If you or a family member experiences a prolonged, persistent cough lasting more than one week, contact your medical provider and request a test for pertussis.

Persons with pertussis are contagious for up three weeks or until antibiotics are taken for five days.

• If diagnosed with pertussis you should not go to school, work, or participate in group activities until you have finished five days of antibiotic treatment.

• It is recommended that all household members of a confirmed case of pertussis also be treated with an antibiotic.

• A person is at greater risk of getting pertussis if they are in close contact with someone with pertussis (i.e. 3 feet of someone for at least 10 hours a week)

• A pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is now available and is given with the tetanus-diphtheria booster. Parents of children 10 years or older, and adults, should talk to their health-care provider about Tdap.

• Always practice good hand washing and cover your coughs and sneezes properly (in a tissue or sleeve, not hands)

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