Parents informed of Pertussis case in USD 418

By Nick Gosnell
November 17, 2014

A USD 418 sixth grader has been diagnosed with Pertussis (Whooping Cough).

In a message distributed to parents Monday evening, McPherson USD 418 Assistant Superintendent Chris Ruder said, "USD 418 is currently working with the McPherson County Health Department to prevent the spread of this disease."

USD 418 has already directly contacted the parents of any student considered to be at risk of contracting the disease based on proximity with the infected student.

The McPherson County Health Department has antibiotics to help those students who had close, direct contact with the student. In addition, they are in the process of securing vaccine to give to students and more information will be made available once that has been confirmed.

According to the fact sheet on pertussis that is available at the McPherson USD 418 website at, "Pertussis, also called “whooping cough,” is a very contagious disease caused by bacteria (germs).

Pertussis is usually mild in older children and adults, but it often causes serious problems in very young children (i.e., infants less than one year of age).

Pertussis can occur at any age but is most common in infants younger than 6 months of age and children 10 to 14 years of age.

Approximately half of infants less than 1 year of age who get pertussis are hospitalized."

Symptoms are like those of a cold lasting for 1-2 weeks, with the cough gradually becoming worse, with severe, uncontrolled coughing spells followed by a whooping noise when a person breathes in. Antibiotics may make the illness less severe if started in the early stages of the disease.

Ruder asked parents, "Please check to see that your children are up to date on their vaccinations, especially DTaP and Tdap. If you are not sure, call the McPherson County Health Department or your doctor's office."

Please keep your child home if they are sick. Seek the advice of a medical professional, and practice good hand washing.

Please contact Fern Hess at the McPherson County Health Department at (620) 241-1753 if you have questions.