No new cases of whooping cough found in island schools

No new cases of whooping cough have been reported in Bainbridge Island's public schools, the school district said Wednesday.

Officials at Commodore Options School announced Tuesday that a case of whooping cough, also called pertussis, had been confirmed in the school building.

The state’s whooping cough epidemic is still in full swing with more than 4,000 reported cases, state health officials said, and school-age kids account for most of them.

State health officials are concerned that the combination of kids in school and circulating disease could lead to more whooping cough cases.

“Now that kids are back in school and around each other for longer periods of time, germs can spread more easily,” said State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes, a pediatrician. “It’s important for kids and everyone around them, including teachers and other caregivers, to practice good health habits and make sure their immunizations are up to date.”

Because school-age kids are at the center of the current whooping cough epidemic, officials said it’s important for school staff and other people who work with children to get vaccinated to prevent the disease.

Whooping cough commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies under one year of age. Teens and adults often have less severe symptoms and may think they just have a nagging cough or common cold.

Whooping cough can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing that can make it hard to breathe. It can be very serious for infants who may have trouble feeding and breathing, and may turn bluish from a lack of oxygen.

Very young infants may be unable to cough, while babies older than 6 months and kids with whooping cough often have severe coughing spells that make it hard for them to eat, drink, breathe and sleep.

Washington provides all recommended vaccines for kids through age 18 through health care providers across the state. Providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine (administration fee). People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask to have it waived.

To find a provider or immunization clinic, contact a local health agency or call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.


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