Officials at the Great Valley School District are taking serious precautions after confirming a case of Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, at Great Valley High School.
Alan Lonoconus, the District Superintendent, made the announcement in a letter to parents of students at the school.
Lonoconus states that Great Valley High students who have not taken the Tdap vaccine won’t be allowed to return to school until 21 days from the last exposure or until they receive one dose of Tdap.
Students who have received five doses of the DTaP vaccine and a booster of Tdap after the age of 11 are considered fully immunized. Both the DTap and Tdap vaccines are available at the Chester County Health Department Clinic. The vaccines are free for those under the age of 18. The clinic is open Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parents are also advised to bring their child’s immunization records. Tdap is also free for adults.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The average incubation period lasts from nine to ten days but ranges from six to 20 days.
It begins with cold symptoms and a cough that becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms normally include a coughing fit followed by a whooping noise though older children, adults and young infants may not develop the whoop.
The coughing is normally followed by vomiting, turning blue or difficulty catching breath. The cough is also often worse at night and cough medicines normally do little to help. While deaths are rare, they do occur, especially in infants less than a year old.
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If you develop any symptoms of whooping cough and are not fully immunized, please call your physician immediately.