WEBER — An infant has been hospitalized and 30 people are being evaluated following an outbreak of pertussis in some Weber County schools, officials reported.
The 31 affected by the respiratory infection are recovering, Weber-Morgan Health Department said Friday. The diagnoses came after the outbreak of whooping cough at Wahlquist Junior High School, Plain City Elementary and Evergreen Montessori Academy, which affected students and their family members.
“Fortunately, it appears that most of the cases are recovering,” Carter said. “We hope that people will continue to take preventive measures and contact their medical provider if they are experiencing sneezing, a runny nose and other cold-like symptoms, especially if they have been exposed to someone who has had a lingering cough. Pertussis symptoms can last as long as three months if left untreated.”
Parents of students were notified of the circulating infection earlier in the week. Officials are using this as an opportunity to emphasize vaccination and continuous practice of proper hygiene procedures.
Pertussis in adults and adolescents can be confused with a bad cough or cold, while children and infants will show characteristic coughing fits. It can last up to three months. The WMHD reminds anyone exhibiting symptoms of illness to stay home from school or work and see a doctor for antibiotics as soon as possible.
“Pertussis is something we see all year long, not just during cold and flu season,” said Amy Carter, a communicable-disease nurse with the WMHD. “This reminds us that we all need to be diligent about getting vaccinated, frequent hand washing, covering your cough and staying home when you are ill.”
WMHD is working with the schools to contain the infection.
"The schools have been doing a great job as far as keeping parents educated and up-to-date on the status of the outbreak," Carter said.
There are five symptomatic students at Plain City with tests pending, but they are siblings or close contacts of the cases at Wahlquist. But now there is one confirmed case of pertussis and three pending cases. But, with the incubation period, those numbers could grow.
Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba