A student at Brevard Academy has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). Transylvania Public Health and other local health departments are working with the school to identify students who may have been exposed to this student. Parents of children who may have been exposed will be notified by the school.
Hundreds of cases of pertussis are reported each year in North Carolina. Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. It causes a severe cough that can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits or vomiting. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis can spread it to newborns. Additional information about pertussis can be found on the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/).
The best protection against pertussis is vaccination. Make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date. Protection against pertussis from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a pertussis booster shot to protect themselves and infants near or around them. If you need the vaccine, or have any questions, please contact your local health department or your private physician.