Public Health Notice

May 5, 2016
Dear parents and/or guardians:
A student who attends Lyons Middle/Senior has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). It is likely
that other students have symptoms of pertussis but have not been diagnosed. Pertussis is a contagious illness
that is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and then another individual breathes in the
bacteria.
Symptoms of pertussis usually develop 7-10 days after exposure, but they can develop from 4-21 days
after exposure.
Symptoms may include:
 Cold-like symptoms in the first week of illness (i.e. runny nose, sore throat etc.)
 Severe coughing starting in the second week of illness and continuing for up to three months
 Gagging or vomiting after coughing episodes
 Coughing at night
Someone with pertussis may look and feel fine between coughing episodes and may not have a fever or
hear the whooping noise.
It is important to know that fully immunized individuals can still become ill from pertussis. Most often, the
illness affects older children and adults because the immunity they gained from childhood immunizations
decreases over time.
To keep your family free from pertussis, Boulder County Public Health recommends:
1. Consulting with your health care provider if you feel your student is developing symptoms of
pertussis. If your student has pertussis, he/she will need to remain at home until five (5) full days of
antibiotic treatment have been completed. (Please take this letter with you to your health care
provider visit.)
2. Reviewing your student’s immunization record with your health care provider to make sure he/she is
up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations.
3. Make an appointment for a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine for anyone in your
household over ten years of age to protect against the illness in the future. Pertussis is now
commonly included in the routine “tetanus booster” vaccination.
It’s very important to follow the above steps to prevent the spread of pertussis to infants and young
children. In younger children pertussis can be very severe, including hospitalization, seizures, long-term
neurological problems, and death. The risk of disease is especially high for infants who are not yet old
enough to complete the primary series of four doses of pertussis vaccine.
If you would like more information, please visit our website at www.BoulderCountyShots.org. If you have
questions, please call the Boulder County Public Health Communicable Disease Control Program at
303-413-7500.
Please take this letter with you if your child is seen by his/her doctor or health care provider