RICHD Pertussis Letter
The Rockridge School District has been notified by the Rock Island Public Health Department about multiple confirmed cases of pertussis in Rock Island County. To our knowledge none of those cases are connected to the Rockridge Schools at this time.
However, since a school environment presents repeated opportunities for close contact, we are asking for heightened awareness by staff and you the parent of individuals who show signs of pertussis. Pertussis starts with cold symptoms and a cough that gets progressively worse over 1 – 2 weeks and may last for months. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughing fits that may be followed by whooping noises, vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching one’s breath. Older children, adults, and very young infants may not exhibit the characteristic whoop sound. The coughing often intensifies at night, and cough medicines usually will not alleviate the cough.
Serious complications such as pneumonia and other problems can result among all age groups due to pertussis infection. However, pertussis poses the greatest risk to infants who have not started or completed vaccinations.
While the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine is routinely given to all infants and young children up to age 7, the protection from the vaccine wears off over time and has resulted in more previously vaccinated pre-adolescent and adolescent children acquiring pertussis. A Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) booster vaccine is available to provide added protection against pertussis for adolescents and adults.
****New rules have been released which will require students entering 6th through 12th grades to receive a booster for pertussis (Tdap). These rules will go into effect at the beginning of next school year (2012-2013). All students that have not already received a Tdap booster will be required to do so before this time. If you do take your child to receive the Tdap booster please be sure to notify the school with a written note from your doctor office with the date of the received vaccine for school health records.****
Kay Amy RN, BSN, ILCSN
Rockridge School Nurse