3 Bigfork students have Whooping Cough
December 7, 2018 Dear Parent/Guardian,
We have been notified of three confirmed cases of pertussis, which is commonly called "whooping cough," at Bigfork School District.
Bigfork School District is committed to proactively communicating with our parents and guardians about any issue that may impact the health and safety of our students. Please be advised that we are closely monitoring this matter and will continue to share relevant information with you in the future.
If you or your child has been directly exposed, a staff person from the Health Department will contact you regarding precautions for your child.
Pertussis a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and an irritating cough that gradually becomes much worse over 1 - 2 weeks. The cough can turn into a long series of coughs followed by a whooping noise as air refills the lungs. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. People with pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue or difficulty catching their breath.
At this time, the Flathead County Health Department strongly recommends parents and guardians take the following steps:
• If your child is coughing, promptly contact your child's health care provider. Explain that your child may have been exposed to a case of pertussis and needs to be evaluated. The provider may obtain a nasopharyngeal culture to test for pertussis. In addition, if pertussis is suspected, an antibiotic will be given to your child to lower the chance of spreading the disease to others. Medication may not decrease the length of severity of illness.
• If your child is diagnosed with pertussis, all household members and other close contacts should also be treated with antibiotics regardless of their age or immunization status.
• Additionally, due to increased pertussis activity throughout the community, exposures may to continue to occur for some time.
If you have questions about pertussis, please call your family health care provider.
Mathew Jensen, Superintendent