AVON – Four students at Avon Local School District have been diagnosed with pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, according to information on the district’s website.
The district recently was informed by the Lorain County General Health District about the latest case. Three cases previously had been reported.
The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) booster is a required vaccination for all incoming seventh grade students; however, due to the number of confirmed cases and the ages of the students involved, the Lorain County General Health District is recommending that all 11- and 12-year-olds receive the booster shot, according to the website.
Superintendent Mike Laub said the outbreak may cause health professionals to look at their policies for booster shots because the students diagnosed for pertussis were almost due for a booster. Laub said the district requires that students receive vaccinations, and it follows recommendations for boosters based on the recommendations of the Department of Health.
“We’re asking those parents to get their children vaccinated early,” he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pertussis is highly contagious and causes uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it difficult to breathe. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially with babies less than one year of age.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the best way to protect against pertussis is to be immunized.
Laub said all of the students who were diagnosed attend school at Heritage North. Those students were treated and are now in good health, he said.
Laub said, while pertussis is treatable with antibiotics, it can be fatal to infants, so the district is taking the outbreak seriously. He said the school is working with the Lorain General Health District.
To prevent the spread of illness, the Lorain General Health District will hold a clinic from 1 to 6 p.m. today at the health department, located at 9880 South Murray Ridge Road in Elyria. For more information, call (440) 322-6367.