USD 418 updates parents on pertussis response, five student cases confirmed

By McPherson USD 418
November 24, 2014

McPherson USD 418 sent out an update to parents on Monday night with regard to Pertussis cases among students.

According to USD 418 Associate Superintendent Chris Ruder, "There have been four confirmed cases of the disease at McPherson Middle School, and one confirmed case at Washington Elementary School."

School nurses have directly contacted parents of any student considered to be at risk of contracting the disease, based on each child's proximity to the infected students. Investigation, notification and treatment efforts are proceeding in all cases.

USD 418 and the McPherson County Health Department will continue to monitor the situation and advise parents of at-risk students if new cases are reported.

USD 418 is taking diligent school disinfection measures. Staff and students are being encouraged to practice good hygiene, to prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases.

Testing and treatment for pertussis is usually done by a family medicine provider. There is a vaccine to prevent pertussis. Traditionally, children complete the DTap series at school entry age and do not receive a booster containing the pertussis vaccine again until seventh grade.

The McPherson County Health Department has worked with officials at the Kansas Immunization Program to acquire Tdap vaccine to be used in response to the pertussis outbreak in McPherson County.

School based clinics are being held in an effort to provide a Tdap vaccination booster earlier. The clinics will reach sixth graders needing the booster and those seventh and eighth graders who have not yet had the vaccine.

Vaccination of pregnant women during each pregnancy and those in close contact or caregivers of newborns and infants under 6 months with Tdap vaccine is also encouraged. Approximately half of the infants less than one year of age who get pertussis are hospitalized.

All required childhood immunizations and many adult immunizations are available at the McPherson County Health Department. To check your child's immunization status, please call the McPherson County Health Department or your doctor's office.

A fact sheet with further information can be found on the USD 418 website