COUDERSPORT – At least seven cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, have been confirmed in Potter County, according to a Pediatrician at Charles Cole Hospital.
According to a school official, three of those cases affected students within the Coudersport Elementary School.
While the source of the first case cannot be known, it is believed that a student at the high school was one of the first locally to contract the disease.
Officials from both the high school and elementary school recently sent letters home to parents warning them of the outbreak.
A letter from Marlene Fantaskey, a Coudersport school nurse, states that any child exhibiting cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose or persistent cough, should be evaluated by a medical professional.
Several students have already been granted a leave of absence from school, until tests can be completed.
When an anonymous source at one of the schools was pressed for information regarding the vaccination status of those who contracted the disease, we were told “most are current on their immunizations.”
The past several years have seen widespread, yet sporadic, outbreaks of pertussis across the nation. While it was first blamed on parents not vaccinating their children, evidence shows a majority of those contracting the disease have already been vaccinated against it. Mutations and a similar strain of whooping cough have been listed as possible reasons for increased outbreaks.
In April and May 2012, Pertussis was declared to be at epidemic levels in Pennsylvania and Washington State.
For more information about pertussis, contact your doctor or visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002528/.