Pertussis defined - Pertussis is also known as whooping cough and is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella Pertussis. This illness affects the respiratory tract (organs that help you breath) Pertussis can be very serious, especially in infants.
Spread of Pertussis - Pertussis is spread by breathing in the bacteria that causes the disease. The germ leaves the infected person's mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. It is mostly spread in the early days of illness. Infected individuals are no longer contagious after 5 days of antibiotic treatment or about 21 days if no antibiotics are taken.
Symptoms - Symptoms appear between 5 and 21 days after exposure
1. The first signs of pertussis are similar to a cold (sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, and cough). After one or two weeks, the cough gets worse.
2. The cough occurs in sudden, uncontrollable clusters where one cough follows another without a break
3. Many children will make a high-pitched whooping noises when breathing in after a coughing episode. Whooping is less common in infants and adults.
4. After coughing, the person may throw up.
5. Between coughing spells, the person seems well, but over time coughing causes fatigue
6. Coughing spells become less frequent, but may continue for several weeks or months.
Prevention - Vaccination is the best way to prevent Pertussis. Hand washing covering your cough with your elbow and staying home when unwell are also great ways to stay healthy.
What will happen if there is a case at Yarmouth Elementary School? - The school nurse, the school principal, and the superintendent will work closely with the Maine CDC for recommendations. Seek your family doctor if your suspect you or your child are ill. The Maine CDC does not currently recommend exclusion for unvaccinated children in the school setting.
All information obtained from MaineCDC and more information can be found on the MaineCDC pertussis website