Pertussis Reminder



Dear Parents/Guardians:


This letter is to inform you the Oroville community is continuing to see cases of Pertussis also known as Whooping Cough.  We all need to be vigilant in monitoring our children for signs and symptoms of Pertussis.  The Oroville School District is requesting families to be extra cautious at this time. If your child has had an illness with a cough for a week or more, it is recommended you get your child examined by their doctor to rule out a possible case of Pertussis. 


Please continue to watch for signs and symptoms of this highly contagious disease over the next several weeks. The symptoms of whooping cough are different depending on your age. Babies and young kids can have severe coughing spells that make it hard to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. Some babies may turn blue because they can’t catch their breath. They may not cough at all but have life-threatening pauses in their breathing. Older kids and adults may only have a runny nose and low fever, followed by a persistent cough that can last for several weeks or months and is often worse at night. The name "whooping cough" comes from the sound many babies and kids make when trying to get air after a coughing spell. It is important to know that not everyone with whooping cough makes the "whoop" sound and not everyone will experience severe coughing spells.  The cough can present as a typical persistent cough and may not cause distress. The best way to know if you have whooping cough is to see your doctor, nurse, or clinician.


If your child has been around someone with Pertussis, they may become sick with Pertussis as well. This is especially true when the child has not received all the Pertussis vaccine shots (DTaP or Tdap). Sometimes even if a child’s shots are up-to-date, they may still get Pertussis.


If your child is already sick, giving antibiotics early can help your child get well faster and lower the chances of spreading the disease to others. If your child has been in contact with someone with Pertussis, antibiotics may prevent them from becoming ill.


Infants under one year old, especially those under six months, are most likely to have severe symptoms if they develop Pertussis. When possible, young infants should be kept away from people with a cough. An infant with any coughing illness should be seen by their doctor.


To protect newborns that cannot be vaccinated against Pertussis and to protect your family, you and all eligible family members should be vaccinated. Pertussis-containing vaccine is available for children starting at 2 months old. Check vaccination records or call your child’s doctor to see if everyone is protected. The Pertussis vaccines are available at your child’s medical clinic. The following is the recommended Pertussis Vaccine Schedule:

Babies need 4 DTaP vaccines • 2 months • 4 months • 6 months • 15 - 18 months

  • THEN one more at 4 - 6 years
  • Older children need the Tdap booster. Children age 11 and older need a booster before entry into 6th grade. If your child is not fully vaccinated with pertussis, 1 dose of Tdap is recommended as part of the catch-up series.  (Fully vaccinated is defined as 5 doses of DTaP or 4 doses of DTaP if the fourth dose was administered on or after the fourth birthday).
  • Because immunity from Pertussis vaccine or disease wears off, Pertussis-containing vaccine is also available for adults.


Thank you for your help in monitoring for this illness and keeping our students as healthy as possible during these winter months.