Whooping Cough Outbreak Hits Mt Vernon Schools
Some students in the Mt Vernon School District are recovering after an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough. School officials say they became aware of the outbreak in late October. Since then nearly two dozen students have come down with the illness. Officials say only a couple of cases are currently active.
A Linn County Public Health official says that whooping cough is a vaccine-preventable disease of the respiratory system. It can easily be spread through close contact in schools with students sneezing and coughing. All students who were diagnosed in Mt Vernon had previously received vaccines. Health officials say those vaccines are not always 100 percent effective. Kids who are given the shot while very young can see the effects of the vaccine wane as they get older.
Officials say that Mt Vernon Schools followed all the necessary precautions to ensure more students and staff were not infected. Anyone diagnosed with whooping cough should be given a five day supply of antibiotics before returning to work or school. Those who are not treated should stay isolated for up to 21 days when they are no longer contagious.