Pertussis Letter 11.23.15 - North Penn School District

November 23, 2015
Dear Parent/Guardian,
A student in the 9th grade at Pennbrook Middle School was diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed
pertussis (whooping cough). Your child may have been exposed. This information was reported
to the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) on Monday, November 23, 2015.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused
by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can be serious in children up to seven years of age and
in those who are not completely immunized against the disease.
Bacteria are spread by inhaling infected droplets of a coughing or sneezing child or by direct
contact with discharges from a running nose. Household members and close contacts that have
been exposed to the infected child are at increased risk.
The Montgomery County Health Department, in consultation with the Pennsylvania Department
of Health, is making the following recommendations:
1) Parents should review each child’s health record to determine the vaccination status
of the child.
2) Children should be observed over the next 2 weeks for any symptoms such as a
running nose, sudden, uncontrollable bursts or spells of coughing that persist and
sometimes cause vomiting. These symptoms should be reported immediately to your
3) If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough, the child should
be evaluated by his/her pediatrician. Evaluation should include a nasopharyngeal
culture for pertussis.
4) Children with pertussis, if their medical condition allows, may return to school five
(5) days after starting appropriate antibiotics and must continue taking the
antibiotics until completed.
5) All household members and close contacts of a pertussis case should receive
preventative antibiotics regardless of their age or vaccination status.
Here are some helpful reminders regarding pertussis-containing vaccine for various age groups:
1) If your child is under the age of 7 years and has not received the full recommended
vaccination series (DTaP at 2, 4 and 6 months, first booster at 15 –18 months and
second booster at 4 – 6 years), please contact your pediatrician and complete the
vaccination schedule.
2) Children ages 7 –10 who have not received the full recommended vaccination series
should receive a dose of Tdap at the earliest opportunity.
1201 North Wales Rd., North Wales, PA 19454
(215) 699-9287
3) Persons between the ages of 11 and 64 who have not received a previous dose of
Tdap vaccine should receive a single dose. No minimum interval since a previous
dose of Td needs to be observed.
4) Persons aged 65 and older may also receive a single dose of Tdap vaccine, as directed
by their primary care physician.
Finally, infants under one year are most likely to experience severe illness if they develop
pertussis. When possible, young infants should be kept away from people with a cough. Infants
with any coughing illness should be promptly evaluated by their pediatrician.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call Montgomery County
Health Department, the Division of Communicable Disease Control at (610) 278-5117.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Jim Galante
Patricia Clark
School Nurse
1201 North Wales Rd., North Wales, PA 19454
(215) 699-9287